"...when it worked. It was like I had just won a million dollars."
I want to pass along a tip to all of you who are caring for dementia / Alz clients. If you are a professional caregiver or caring for a loved one who has dementia I can almost guarantee that you have or will run into the problem of teeth brushing. Getting a dementia patient to brush their teeth can ( pardon my pun) be harder than pulling teeth.
I have struggled with this for sometime and have searched the Internet for any advice. Well last week I finally found a tip that works ( most of the time), and believe me most of the time is better then almost never, you know.
I must credit this tip with the source Teepa Snow. If you have not see her, take the time to Google her name and watch some of her presentations you will gain some real insite.
Here is the procedure that I tried from her suggestions:
Stand behind your client/loved one, place your hand on their dominate shoulder ( that is to say If they are right handed put your hand in their right shoulder, left handed put your hand on left shoulder) this gets their brain to focus on your hand. Then hold the tooth brush in your hand with their hand on top off yours. Gently guide your hand to their mouth while telling them we need to brush your teeth or we need to clean your teeth. Don't force the brush in ,be kind and gentle talking to them quietly while you run the brush over their teeth. Sounds easy right! Well it's not, but I can tell you this it does work, like I said most of the time.
I can't tell you how I felt when it worked. It was like I had just won a million dollars. I felt so good that I was able to help my client accomplish this task. If you are a caregiver you know! Things that in normal life are trivial become such a challenge and when we face that challenge and have a victory, well it feels really good.
I hope this tip helps you. And please feel free to share your tips here. I will post them for others to benefit from. We all learn from each other. Remember you are not in this care giving challenge alone, there are many of us here with you and we care.
Take care and please share.....ha that rhymes.