Monday, September 6, 2010

From NPR to Caregivers: It's OK to Fib

What a delight to be driving home this Labor Day morning and hear a segment on a special sleepever camp for Alzheimer's patients in the San Francisco Bay area.

More than just a feel-good piece, it actually has some good strategies for caregivers who, according to the report, are sometimes the ones that need the bigger attitude adjustment to cope with the continuous stress. One such piece of advice from camp organizers is to let folks indulge in their fantasies if no harm is to come of it. In the audio piece, this plays out as a father who continually washes clean dishes to feel useful and a camper who was once a carpenter. The latter sees a chair he believes is broken and sets out to fix it with imaginary tools. A camp "counselor" decides to let him be as he pretends to ply his former trade.

If your grandmother thinks she's 8 years old and late for school, don't correct her, experts say. Fib if you have to — tell her today's a school holiday. If she insists on sleeping on the floor, put down a mattress to make her more comfortable. Dehydration or a medication side effect may be behind a hallucination. Check with the doctor

Listen: Camp for Alzheimer's Patients Isn't About Memories