Don’t Multitask – First according to science it doesn’t really exist, but we all think we can do it. Complexity is the worst thing for a person with dementia.
I’m at the beginning of dementia so my instinct is I can do what I did before. Of course, as dementia increases, I will change how I do things. I’m going to explain why that way seems to be right, but it is fraught with problems.
1. Waiting till you have problems doing something creates frustration.
2. By waiting, you let dementia take hold before you learn coping mechanisms. Coping mechanisms are best put in place before you have a problem, not after.
3. Once you get frustrated, you naturally get sad and start feeling bad for yourself about the skill or capabilities that no longer work.
4. Being present is about doing one thing at a time and enjoying it. This avoids the opportunity for frustration and allows you to keep a positive attitude.
5. Like it or not things are changing, and it is up to you find a way to stay positive, but here is an area I have found your caregiver is more than happy to help, so let them. They can help you change the way you do things, because they want what you want, “to stay positive.”
People ask me how I can continue to do this blog? First, when I write, I only write, I don’t have distracting things like music playing; I don’t look at email, etc. Next, and this is important, I like to write. I find writing relaxing; I used to find keeping a handwritten journal relaxing too, but because of my poor handwriting that time is almost gone. Last, I already had the skills to write a blog and manage a website (quite honestly, that’s mostly on automatic now).
Find what brings you happiness. Do it without distraction. If you’re looking at email, do it and nothing else, if you watch TV, watch it.
Confession – OK while cooking I still like to have smooth jazz music on and a glass of wine. But I have a great sous-chef (Christy) that keeps me on task and focused on the recipe, so I guess that’s the exception when you’re doing things together. Most of all, have fun and be positive.