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Everyone has different abilities. We all need help with things that we are not so skilled at. Some people change their own oil and I prefer to take it to the nice guys who do it for me (and I pay them). Some people can bake gorgeous birthday cakes and I prefer to go to a wonderful lady who went to school to learn how to make yummy desserts.

Some of us lose some abilities because of many reasons; accidents, diseases, age or genes.

Persons living with dementia may begin to question their abilities. They may be doing something that you have seen them do over 100 times but they are not quite sure if they are doing correctly so they ask, “Is this right?” “Am I doing it correctly?” And they just need to be be reassured that they are doing just fine.

Then they may want to do something like help in the kitchen but they have no idea of the steps anymore. They want to change the channel on the TV but can’t figure out which buttons to push now.

What can we do?

We can help them do it themselves.

Think about the steps do anything.

Make yourself a bowl of cereal.

  1. Get a bowl. Label the cabinet where the bowls are.
  2. Pick out a cereal. Label where the cereal is or leave several of their favorites on the counter.
  3. Pour into bowl. (My Mom used to pour cereal all the way to the top. I corrected her several times, telling her there is no room for milk, she would go away mad and hungry. One time she said back to me, “It’s not your problem is it?” She was right. She handled it. I shut up after that.)
  4. Get out the milk
  5. Pour into bowl
  6. Put milk back in fridge
  7. Get a spoon. May want to keep silverware out in a holder.

It seems like a simple thing to do and to some extent I think that is why it can be so frustrating for a person living with dementia, they know it is simple and they can’t remember the steps or where things are.

How can we help the person to what they can do for as long as they can? We can change. We can label cabinets, we can leave instructions, we can put a stickie up for encouragement, we can reassure the person, we can use a dry erase board and list the steps to a task.

Keep Their Abilities Alive.

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