Creating routine and how long does a new routine take for someone with dementia to adjust?
Thank goodness for the adult day care option.
Don’t think for one minute it was an easy decision or an easy process to get her there
Nothing about it was simple.
The value however is so worth every bit of the effort.
I am Moms health care proxy and her power of attorney (another post for sure). This came about when she first realized (this was a sad realization) she was getting confused and didn’t understand “all the new ways”.
Quite a few years ago I started noticing Mom doing less and less around the house during the day, not that I expected her to do chores or anything, but she had always done so much.
Heck back in the day mom could, tear through a room, ceilings, walls, floors, turn the mattress, wash sheets and curtains (with a ringer machine) and dry on the line, wash the window – she would even beat the pillows and have it all back together in time to make dinner and have it on the table at dinner time.
Sadly, it was now at the point where she was not doing anything all day. We all know that being alone all day and not having or doing anything cannot be good for you.
Barbara had moms car at her house because we figured it was best to keep the car out of moms sight so she wouldn’t be upset about not driving. Barbara had assured mom she could bring her wherever she wanted to go if I was not around.
So after some prodding , mom decided she would like to attend the Wednesday morning meetings at church, they only met twice a month but it was a good start and Barbara would take her. They did this off and on for about a year, mom would say “Barbara likes it so I will go”.
Mom has to be pushed a little and really so does Barbara, so when one of them said they didn’t feel up to going the other agreed and they would not go. Maybe too hot, or too cold, or too tired, or didn’t feel like it.
I finally talked mom into going to the town senior center (she thought it was for old people, duh) because they had a Yahtzee group and she always liked that. Socially I thought it was important. Barbara took her a few times because it was during the day and I was at work. Again because they both needed a push to create this routine, it didn’t always work out. Mom would often say she wasn’t up to going, and where I would push her to go Barbara would not. Barbara once told me I should let mom do what she wants. Barbara felt bad, and felt I was pushing mom too much. I on the other hand wanted mom to be around people her own age and do the things that people her age were doing.
So I made arrangements for the senior center bus to pick mom up, figuring she couldn’t say no to them, (like she did with Barbara) if they showed up at the door. I was wrong. Sometimes she would forget the bus was coming, even after I reminded her in the morning before I left for work. Other times she just said she didn’t want to go.
She was forgetting so much and doing so little. She ruined 2 tea kettles. She fell down out back one day when no one was home. Tried to bring in firewood. Tried to start a fire in the wood-stove. She didn’t eat the lunches I left for her or anything else. She couldn’t lock the door when she did leave. She forgot phone numbers and didn’t know how to reach me during the day. She wore the same clothes every day. She started having difficulty getting to the bathroom on time.
Time for me to realize that she can no longer be alone.
Such difficult decisions.
After months of insurance dealings, and meetings and interviews and more frustrations than you can imagine (yet another post) we got the ok for mom to attend adult day care.
Barbara and I went to visit a few adult day care facilities, at which point I questioned if mom even belonged there, after all it was for such old people who were so dependent on others for everything, and they looked confused and…….. I finally heard myself and realized it was the right place for mom.
These transitions and realizations take time for everyone to accept.
I asked around and the day care facility I liked had such great reviews from a friend who had her mother there a couple years ago before she passed away.
After a few very lengthy discussions and convincing mom she had to go, she started going 2-3 days a week through the summer.
Mom must have been scared and she is a little shy and this was all new to her.
That was almost 2 years ago. She now attends day care 5 days. Now it is routine and mom looks forward to going. She complains about some other people that go and about one of the bus drivers. She loves the food. The kids from the tech school come to visit. A few different dogs visits, she loves that. The preschoolers march through on Halloween. She participates in everything even chair yoga and once in a while she even gets to play Yahtzee. She will often bring home a craft she made or a prize she won playing bingo. We have so much we can chat about at the end of the day. She has a routine and someplace she needs to be. She even has a task,, she wraps silverware for lunches. When she gets off the bus, she is tired because she had a full day. She looks forward to the weekends now.
We have created a safe and happy routine.