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Walks off from Caregiver
Posted: Thursday, May 12, 2022 2:32 PM
Joined: 2/23/2020
Posts: 13

I stayed with Mom for 3 days to give Dad a break.  She doesn't recognize me but was pleasant when I arrived and for the entire time surprisingly calmer than usual.  But when we have a friend stop by to spend time with her she kicks her out, tells her to leave and walks off from her.  Any suggestions on how to get her to be more receptive to someone visiting her each week to give us a break?  Our friends tries ignoring her but as soon as Mom sees her she walks off again.  Why is she rejecting her specifically?
Posted: Thursday, May 12, 2022 2:49 PM
Joined: 9/10/2021
Posts: 271

Hi HJF - Can't be sure, but one thing that comes to mind is that she could be projecting someone else.  Friend may remind her of someone she would have done that to in what I call 'their past life'.

My grandmother did that to my brother. (It was about early 1970's or so) She was adamant that he needed to get ready for school immediately and would get very agitated when he didn't. Didn't matter that it was evening or a Saturday, which is why he was there, of course.  As one of the oldest of her siblings (in 'her past life' years before), she would have the responsibility to have helped get the younger ones ready. She even chased brother into a broom-closet one day.  He was about 8-9 at the time, and as he was not understanding the whole situation, he was pretty shook up.

MN Chickadee
Posted: Friday, May 13, 2022 8:28 AM
Joined: 9/7/2014
Posts: 1508

I would wonder about two things - either that your friend reminds her of someone or something from long ago and it is triggering the behavior, or your friend's approach does not work for mom and she is retaining some of that anxiety from the interactions. I might try having the friend change up their appearance. Add or remove eye glasses, pull hair back and put a hat on etc. Have you observed how this person is with mom? Spending time with a PWD takes specific skills, approach, and communication techniques. Tell the friend to watch some Teepa Snow videos to get an idea of best practices. Usually calming tones, letting anything roll off even insults or anxiety, reassuring, and validating are key to success. Talking fast or about things the PWD can't understand won't work, being loud and boisterous may turn her off. You might also have the friend bring treats mom will like, bribery can definitely work for some. A favorite food or sweet treat, or something else you know mom will enjoy. My mother loved stuffed animals, flashy costume jewelry, stuff to fidget with. If they gently approach with a gift it might help. And you might also watch how you frame the initial interaction when they arrive. Tell mom your friend is coming over, not a sitter or caregiver or anything to do with her. It's your friend, talk up how wonderful they are. You're so happy this friend can come see you. set the tone and finesse. Usually therapeutic fibs are necessary to get a relationship started with a new caregiver.
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