Strategies, strategies, strategies

As I've been reporting day after day recently Ash is so much better that laughter and joy are generally a part of every day living now and I thought you might like to know how we've got to this very happy place.  I have said before that I'm convinced it's strategies not medication (although I'm not saying that doesn't help) and those strategies involve me removing areas of stress from his life.  Examples are:

Early mornings:  I set the alarm for 7am.  That way either I wake before the alarm goes off or we wake at the same time.  Either way he has no need lie panicking  that he doesn't know what's in store for the day as he can just ask me.

Clocks:  We have two digital clocks, one upstairs and one downstairs both of which tell the date, day and time so he doesn't have to worry if he forgets.

Grocery shopping :  we go to the same shops and in the same order each week.  We make a list before we go, write down what we want from which shop and then head off on either a Thursday or a Friday.  If I suggest going on a Saturday he has a melt down so Thursday or Friday it is.

Clothes:  I make sure he has 5 sets of his favourite outfit.  Same brand, same design, same colour.  This means there are no decisions to make regarding what to wear.  When they need washing I pick up the current ones from the bedroom floor while he's in the bath and replace them with a clean set.

TV programmes:  We watch the same programmes every night (usually quiz shows) and when I get bored I put my new headphones on, listen to music and read a book.  No need for him to choose what to watch.

Meals:  Ash has been eating the same thing for breakfast and the same thing for lunch for ages now so I leave him to it and sort myself out.  No need for him to choose what to eat.  In the evening I decide what we're having and I cook.  Again no need for him to choose what he wants.

Conversation:  We now have a tv in the dining room and watch the news or yet another quiz show while we eat our evening meal so we have something to talk about.

Dog walking:  Ash walks the dog twice a day taking the same short route in a morning and the same long route in an afternoon.  No need to decide where to go or when.

Phone:  Ash's old phone died so I thought I would be clever and get him a newer version.  One that looked the same but that would get the internet.  He really couldn't get to grips with how it worked and decided that he didn't need one and couldn't use one.  That's fine but I was a little concerned about him not being able to contact me in an emergency so Jake ordered a phone just like his old one, we got another SIM card and he's now able to make calls again if he wants to.  He's also beaming from ear to ear because he can still use a mobile phone.

All of this means that his brain has less to cloud it and, as a consequence, he has started to make decisions again, to start conversations, to tease me and others around him, to join in and to relax.  His confidence is boosted as he has less to worry about, his anxiety levels are down as there are no expectations of him and he has time to notice what's going on around him which, in itself, boosts even more conversation.

The dementia hasn't gone away.  Just this morning he sat down to send an email and couldn't remember how to do it but it doesn't worry him as it used to.

I realise these strategies won't necessarily work with certain types of dementia and especially if you're  further down the line than we are but if you're new to all of this why not give it a try?  You might be surprised at what you can achieve.