Adaptation is the Key-Or at least we can adapt our environment to make life a little easier
In my experience working with adults with memory loss, I’ve found that we need to not only think outside of the box but ignore the box altogether. We need to adapt, as you know, but sometimes adapting our environment can make things even easier.
There are a LOT of tools out there to help our loved ones maintain their independence as long as possible. There are tools to help with dressing, activities of daily living, and mobility. Surprisingly, a lot of folks are hesitant to utilize these devices even when they know they could make their life better. For example, a walker can keep someone safe, but if it’s left behind every time they get up, it’s useless. Enter a wheelchair alarm that can connect the walker with the individual. They walk too far away from the walker, the alarm sounds and they’re reminded to grab their walker. A personal voice amplifier could help increase their vocal volume and make communication easier. Even doorknob covers, button adapters, and no-tie laces can make life a little easier while maintaining the quality of life we’ve enjoyed in the past.
How can we encourage our loved ones to use the multitude of tools out there when they’re resistant? I find focusing on the positive can help a lot. “This will let you continue to take care of this yourself”, “This will help with the frustration you’ve been experiencing”, “This will make life better”. Another trick is to make it sound like it’s something we love and use (or actually use it ourselves to show how great it is). Sometimes our recommendation can make a big difference.
Finally, sometimes we have to bring in the professionals to make the change happen. It always amazes me how many times we say they should do something, but as soon as a trusted therapist or physician says the exact same thing it becomes the gospel truth. Don’t be afraid to use these little tricks to help make both of your lives better. If you have a good team, they’ll be more than happy to write a prescription for a shower or other needs, help support your needs, brainstorm ideas, and find viable solutions.
Adaptation is key, but finding ways to make the adaptations easier is absolutely golden!
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