Go With The Dementia Flow
Rather than fight the current of dementia through reorientation, go with the flow through participation and steer the conversation toward positive memories, whether real or imagined. Many senior living facility Administrators still subscribe to the outdated model of dementia care that is reorientation. According to the reorientation strategy, whenever a resident with dementia espouses a memory or recollection of events that is untrue, the caregiver ‘reorients’ the resident to reality. For instance, if an 85-year-old resident with dementia told you that she went to Europe yesterday with her mother, you would tell her that she did not go to Europe with her mother. She stayed in her room yesterday and watched TV. Remember? The object of this questioning is that the resident will remember that they did in fact stay in their room yesterday, and no, they did not go to Europe with their mother. This brief orientation may produce the unintended and unfortunate result that the resident will also recall that their mother is dead and that they live away from their friends and family. The consequent negative emotions that can follow reorientation have given rise to a different dementia care strategy: go with the flow.
How Do You ‘Go With The Flow’
Participating in a happy ‘recollection’ is easy. Instead of reorienting the senior with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia back to reality, ask them some follow up questions that will lead to another happy ‘recollection’ or affirm their memory of the positive event. How was your trip to Europe? Tell me more about your mother. Steer the conversation toward positive events and memories. The happy recollection will enhance the resident’s quality of life and mood. Residents of http://santarosaseniorliving.com have enjoyed happy recollections that while untrue have therapeutic value in the form of positive emotions. Residents who firmly believe that they did not see that movie do not experience the frustration that follows being told that they did in fact watch that movie the night before. Remember? Don’t you remember seeing the movie? It’s the one where…
This tactic does sacrifice the brief lucidity that may accompany reorientation, but the ultimate result steers clear of negative emotions in favor of positive ones. The suitability of this tactic is reinforced by the fact that dementia is progressive; there is no cure, only a steady decline. Reorientation will not last and your loved one’s memory will continue to worsen over time. At this stage focus on bringing happiness to your loved one. There is no need to confuse them with reorientation, but there is always value in enhancing quality of life.