GLSS has created a Caregiver Toolkit that supports enhancing the lives of someone with dementia and their caregivers using items selected from evidence-based research. These items can all be found online and were purchased through amazon.com. We have included the item list and a description of their benefit if you would like to replicate the kit. This list can also be used as suggestions on obtaining items of your choice that may also satisfy these areas or meet a personal budget.
Have a small "to go" bag ready for unexpected trips or events.
Sample items to include:
Add your own tips in the comments.
When your emotions or temper become increasingly difficult to manage, WALK AWAY. Taking a short break to cool off can make a big difference.
If you are caring for an avid sports lover, you may try mini golf, Wii bowling, a beanbag toss or attending a Little League game. You can also arrange for several people to get together to watch a big game on television. Or, perhaps you can try sorting through and organizing sporting cards.
We all need help, but many of us have a difficult time asking for it. Doing everything yourself can lead you towards caregiver burnout so be sure to ask for and accept help when it is offered. Caregivers occasionally report that friends have stopped calling or that no one is reaching out. Sometimes people don't reach out because they don't know what to say or what you may need. It's okay to initiate conversations with friends and loved ones letting them know what would be helpful.
Create a list of the care recipient's favorite movies and television shows. Watch these old shows together and reminisce about how times were growing up. Take a break while your care recipient relaxes with some old classics.
When times get tough and emotions run high, it is important to remember that difficult behaviors are caused by the disease and not the person.
Rather than listening to just any music, try to listen to music your loved one is familiar with. Sirius XM or even many cable channels have music by era. The ideal music would be tunes that they listened to while they were a teenager or in their early twenties.
Some sample games:
Ocassionally as a caregiver you may be faced with the uncomfortbale task of telling a "fiblet" to a loved one. A fiblet, also known as a tiny white lie, is often neccesary in working with someone who has memory loss when we know that using logic or explananing things won't help. For example, if your loved one gets up in the morning and tells you that they need to go to work but you know they haven't worked for a decade or two, you may be faced with a dilemma.
Disorientation to time and place is common with memory loss: if a person believes that they need to work, disputing this will only lead to agitation and possibly aggression. It might even evoke other anxious concerns such as, "how will we pay the bills?" Rather than explain the circumstance, it is best to distract and divert with the use of a fiblet. "Your boss called, they said that the office is closed today and that you do not need to come in."
The primary function of a fiblet is to calm the person through comfort and distraction. It validates their worry and gives them a workable resolution. Remember, it is important to join "their reality" because trying to convince them otherwise may only create negative feelings and resistance.