Grandma has Dementia

I am going next week to see my grandmother. She has Dementia and does not remember me and really does not say much. I really do not expect to have a great time with her, but would like to see her again. Do you have any suggestions about my upcoming visit?

Rod

Hello Rod:

I am glad to hear that you are making the effort to visit your grandmother. She may not remember your visit, but you will. Here is what I suggest.

-Expect the best – plan your visit. Don’t just show up – that would be boring for both of you.

-She lives in the minute or even the second, so keep that in mind while you are with her.

-Bring some music. Take along a tape recorder, your computer or cell phone. Bring her some music that both of you will be able to enjoy together. Pre-select some tunes that were of her generation.

-I was always amazed when music was playing on the Alzheimer’s floor where my mother lived. It is the best thing that gets most of them moving, rocking and even singing along. I was even more amazed when many residents who rarely spoke, starting to sing the words to some of the songs. Music is “the key” to enjoying a visit. Bring your own, and make your own party.

-Another little treat that I would do for my Mother’s enjoyment was to take her back to her room and give her a “mini spa treatment” I would wash her face and hands and apply some cream. It sounds so simple, but this was one of the few pleasures she really enjoyed.

-She loved the warm cloth on her face. She would hold it to her face until it went cold. Applying the cream to her face and hands was a treat she always loved. This became our own little ritual – she loved every second of it!

-If she does not have a soft doll or toy, bring one. I found that most residents loved little dolls. My mother would often keep a doll on her lap and tell stories about her “baby.” It made her happy and that is all that counted.

Enjoy your visit. Take some music, give her a mini spa treatment and a little soft doll. I would also suggest that you video tape the two of you together. It will be a fun enjoyable event for both of you.

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