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YOA Daughter needs assistance dressing & maintaining apt
JamesSonDad
Posted: Wednesday, July 24, 2019 7:17 AM
Joined: 4/29/2019
Posts: 11


Request for ideas.  I helped my mother through Alzheimer's when she was in her late sixties. She moved in with my wife and me when we had three kids in middle and elementary school. She died ten years in an adult care home in 1994. My wife and I are now responsible for our 53-year-old daughter, aged 53, who was diagnosed at 51. We’d like some ideas helping her choose clothes and get dressed and undressed.

She’s been living in Assisted Living in independent apartment but has lately gotten more confused dressing and undressing and maintaining her apartment. Our son and his wife help our daughter last Saturday and wrote this:

 “I think she needs staff from her Assisted Living (AL) to help her get dressed - possibly daily or every other day.  She is assisted in her shower three times per week.  That person could be a big help with putting clothes in the laundry, throwing away garbage, putting Aegis' dishes in the hallway and helping her pick out an outfit.   

"We spent the first hour and a half cleaning up her apartment.  she could not fasten her bra and said she had been trying for a while.  She and I went into her bedroom, where we stayed for about an hour.  Clothes were laying everywhere imaginable in piles and individually throughout her bedroom, closet, living room, and bathroom.  It appeared she had tried to wash some clothes in the bathroom sink and they were still there wet.  She was trying to pick out a shirt to wear and I helped.  However, as I casually was picking up clothes and assessing whether they should be hung up or put in the laundry, with every shirt I picked up she would very quickly take her shirt off (about a dozen times) and sometimes her bra off or unhook it (about 7 times) and say "Am I trying on that shirt?"  Half the shirts I hung on the a hanger she would take off and want to try them on.  She repeatedly dug through her laundry basket and kept trying to put on clothes that were dirty, including dirty underwear.  She was able to put on and take off clothes just fine, but I needed to fasten her bra every time. She tried on several outfits and picked out a dress for her potluck on Sunday.  We put it on a hanger, with clean underwear and bra and a necklace, and a post-it labeled "potluck on Sunday" and hung it on her bedroom door hook.”  

 My wife and I have scheduled a meeting with staff at the AL facility in two days to prevent what our DIL found and to assist our daughter. We would appreciate suggestions. 


Michael Ellenbogen
Posted: Wednesday, July 24, 2019 7:57 AM
Joined: 11/30/2011
Posts: 2680


I am not sure I understand what you are asking but someone should be able to help you soon. I know many of my friends who live with dementia need help with getting dressed or selecting their clothes. I even have some issue when it comes to packing for a trip. 


Iris L.
Posted: Wednesday, July 24, 2019 11:29 AM
Joined: 12/15/2011
Posts: 16199


She needs one-on-one assistance.  Assisted living is for people who are functioning at a higher level than she is.  Temporarily, you can hire a paid caregiver for morning care and household care, if a family member is unable to provide this help.  The long-term solution is for her to move to a memory care facility, where there will be caregivers to provide the assistance and supervision she needs 24/7.  Look for one in which she can age in place and that will accept Medicaid when her funds run out.  Members on the Caregivers board will have more suggestions.

Iris L.


Unforgiven
Posted: Wednesday, July 24, 2019 2:06 PM
Joined: 1/28/2013
Posts: 2616


Iris is right about Memory Care.  There comes a time when PWD progress past the ability to understand about not wearing dirty clothing or how to deal with it.  My own mother, not early onset, came to a point where she just kept adding layers of clothing and never changed what was underneath.  I had to step in and insist she follow my direction, even though she insisted she knew what she was doing.

Best advice is to keep clothing choices as simple as possible.  How about a pull-over bra or none at all?  Simple clothing in colors that will all go together.  Clothing that does not need special handling and a large hamper in the bathroom with a sign saying "Take it off, put it in here."  And never assume your LO knows to perform basic hygiene like tooth brushing or face washing. My mother forgot that without my knowing.

My opinion of assisted living is that is outrageously expensive for very little actual service.  We never got to Memory Care, as she went directly to Skilled Nursing, also outrageously expensive for not enough care, so I performed the care in my home.  Not everyone can, or will want to do that, because it is a heartbreaking journey, trying to run a race where the rules and goalposts keep changing just as you learn them.


JamesSonDad
Posted: Wednesday, July 24, 2019 6:19 PM
Joined: 4/29/2019
Posts: 11


Thanks for your reply. We have created a checklist for packing her suitcase when she stays with us overnight, or travels with us to visit her brother or sister.  We have problems packing her to take home also. Sometimes she thinks she is staying permanently one of her sibling's homes.  The recent problem seems to be a more significant problem than we have had.
JamesSonDad
Posted: Thursday, July 25, 2019 6:45 AM
Joined: 4/29/2019
Posts: 11


Iris thanks for the comments on one-on-one care for dressing herself, and even undressing and putting on pajamas. We've added one-on-one care for her showers after she exercises in a women's strength workout class that a friend goes with her every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. On Tuesdays, Thursdays and weekends she runs and walks in a nearby park with a staff member who takes her on her breaks. She dresses herself in workout clothes for those exercise routines, including tying her own tennis shoes. I walk with her in local parks and trails and we have long, normal chats.   

Unforgiven, I like your suggestions of simple color coded outfits and pullover bras, maybe even with photographs of the outfits. She has one for workouts, which after your comments, I suspect needs washing more often than it is. I also think we need to eliminate the amount of clothing she has, but she resists it when her  mother tries to toss out clothing, saying "Oh no, I like to wear that with ..." Maybe we need to do that when she's not there.

She remains verbally fluent and energetic. She loves the AL in a 320 sq ft apartment with people who are at least 15 years older than she is. She feels the staff are her peers and they treat her that way. She calls the residents in the AL "her people" as if they were her employees when she was in human resources and the classroom when she was a special needs teacher. She constantly chats with lonely residents and assists them when they are confused, looking for seats, asking questions, returning them to their room and eating. She participates in most of the daily activities  And staff asks her to assist residents during activities: playing bingo, doing chair exercises, etc. The AL staff took her to help them pass out water and assist runners at a fund raising event. She talked with people about her satisfaction with the AL facility she is in. 

We looked at memory care units and are not ready to house her there. Thanks for stimulating some ideas for us. 


alz+
Posted: Friday, July 26, 2019 11:10 AM
Joined: 9/12/2013
Posts: 3549


I have an excess of clothing still, packed most away in suitcases.

What I wear is pull-on clothing. As few zippers, buttons as possible. The bra thing - I leave mine hooked and pull over my head. My figure doesn't really require one.

I have 4 dresses I can pull over my head for summer and wear sweat pants and sweat shirts all winter, shoes without ties, all my shoes are pull on / slip on now.

*If you reduce choice that alone might help. Out of sight, out of mind.

Impressed with the way your family is helping each other.


jfkoc
Posted: Friday, July 26, 2019 1:29 PM
Joined: 12/4/2011
Posts: 17560


Agree.....take a serious look at her wardrobe. Slip in easy to put on clothes and slip out the more difficult. Definitely reduce the amount. Bra? Get a camisole with some support on line. I have friends who do not even own bras anymore. Ah, the freedom of it.

You can easily have a packed bag for her so she does not have to do that and you can take some of those clothes you slipped out and leave them at the places she visits.

We had two homes and my husband had clothes etc at both places. Worked great.


Unforgiven
Posted: Friday, July 26, 2019 2:20 PM
Joined: 1/28/2013
Posts: 2616


About the bra thing, a Spanx or a less expensive alternative, holds everything in place and would be both more comfortable and easier to put on and off.  Or, depending on build, simply move to loose fitting tops.  I have read that a company called Buck and Buck sells all manner of garments for those with specific needs, including needing to be dressed by someone else.

 


JamesSonDad
Posted: Sunday, July 28, 2019 6:27 AM
Joined: 4/29/2019
Posts: 11


Thursday DWD (Daughter with dementia), my wife and I met with the care giver director and agreed on changes. DWD will get more tips and assistance for putting clothes away and cleaning up her apartment. We added another day to  housekeeping. DWD changes clothing 3-4 times per day and accepts suggestions from staff about changing into items more appropriate for weather and activities. Family will alert the director to special events DWD will perseverate about, such as concerts, parties and events she been invited to attend with friends, family and her sons. We will add one-on-one care for grooming in addition to the shower. One of the family will buy or exchange clothing in cooperation with DWD that will be easier to wear. We reminded the director of care being neglected. 

On Saturday our daughter-in-law returned with a number of purchased items that DWD  and DIL agreed were needed (more underwear, etc.) DIL spent three hours with her trying on clothes and outfits. DIL took photographs of the outfits DWD liked. New clothing that didn't fit or wasn't wanted was taken back. A large bag of clothes went back for donations.  We are thrilled that our DIL took that initiative. It's her expertise and my wife and I have not been able to do it.


JamesSonDad
Posted: Sunday, July 28, 2019 6:31 AM
Joined: 4/29/2019
Posts: 11


Thanks to all of you for your suggestions. I like the idea of a packed bag ready to go. We have check list, but packing is tricky because DWD keeps pulling things out of the suitcase. I also think a set of clothing that stays at our home makes the packing easier when she comes to stay at night. 

I feel connected and less alone. Thanks.  


Iris L.
Posted: Sunday, July 28, 2019 12:17 PM
Joined: 12/15/2011
Posts: 16199


It's great that things are moving along.

Iris L.


alz+
Posted: Wednesday, July 31, 2019 12:34 PM
Joined: 9/12/2013
Posts: 3549


about dressing yourself -

someone figured out it was the "Sequencing of Dressing" that can confound people with dementia.

Solution was to lay out clothing in a line >-------------> A to F

underpants, bra, pants, shirt, sweater, socks, shoes.

a sideways line on bed or whatever. People who could not dress themselves mixed up what comes next like with numbers or words or food etc

Not enough to put pile on bed. Keep it simple, super comfy, looks good, not to many zippers buttons or snaps.



JamesSonDad
Posted: Monday, August 5, 2019 7:53 AM
Joined: 4/29/2019
Posts: 11


Laying out clothes in a line sounds like a great way to do a number of things.  I wonder if we could organize label the storage of clothes that way for dressing and undressing.