People frequently ask how I adjust for the challenges caused with increasing symptoms. No longer being able to multitask, getting confused following directions and lack of focus, does often make it difficult to maintain a house and have some social activities. Sometimes it seems like we no sooner resolve one issue than another pops up.
Roy and I don’t accept the fact that I CAN’T do things anymore. Instead, we try to review each challenge, figure out what the obstacle is and find a way to adjust to make it happen.
Some of the adjustments we have made are so simple and so convenient that some our friends (who don’t have dementia) decided to use these techniques as well. I’m going to start with two affordable Hooks that have helped eliminate some Dementia Daze.
People often tell me they loose their keys all the time. I did too. Except . . . with dementia, we tend to try to put EVERYTHING in a “SAFE Place”! In my case the “Safe Place” was ANYWHERE – – generally the freezer, in back of the cleaning supplies or in the safe, which is also where I put eggs, milk, remotes, etc.. Once we learned where my head thought was a “Safe Place” we knew where to look, until my head decided it found a new “Safe Place”.
Obstacle #1: Finding the keys.
The best way to find the keys is never to lose them. As with most women, I rarely leave the house without my purse. After deciding the best place to keep my keys was with my purse, we attached a hook onto my purse that holds my keys. I am happy now to say, I have not lost my keys in over 6 months! They never leave my purse. With the hook, I can easily move the keys from one purse to another. The hook and key holder are long enough that while my purse is on my arm, I can reach the door to lock it, sturdy enough that it is not going to fall off and small enough that I can slip it into my purse so only the end shows and it doesn’t get in my way. So the answer is: to never lose your keys!!! Keep them attached to your purse! Sorry men, I don’t have an answer for you.
Obstacle #2: The grocery cart and the grocery bags.
As many people with dementia, I have lost my ability to filter sound. Voices become amplified as though I am in a cave. When shopping, noise is everywhere, baby crying, kids running, people talking, carts banging – – chaos!
Moved the creamer – – track it down – – Whew! Finally done – – Go to the checkout – – – Five people in line – – Noise intensifying – – coming from every angle – – Can’t think, sounds like everyone is speaking through a boom box.
The one little outing that others take for granted, is often a tremendous undertaking. Because it creates such mental fatigue, I am usually unable to focus on anything else the rest of the day.
As with many things in our lives, my husband and I have found some tips to make grocery shopping easier me:
Shopping needs to be done before 10:00 in the morning Monday through Thursday when the store is less crowded. Always shop the same store – it reduces the confusion of finding things and becomes a familiar environment with familiar faces.
I am fortunate to live near Giant Food Stores in Gilbertsville. The manager and employees are WONDERFUL! Rebecca in customer service is always smiling. The gentleman at the fish counter, the young man who helps bag the groceries, the women at the checkout and even the man who collects the carts – they don’t know me and I don’t know their names, but they are all familiar faces and make me feel comfortable. More than once when I asked where to find an item, rather than saying an aisle number – they took me to it! Wow! That is such a help.
After a few times of loosing my purse and walking off with someone else’s cart, we came up with a simple solution to keep my cart and purse together. So far it’s worked great!
I made the below video to share with many of my dementia friends at Dementiamentors.org. I only hope all the Giant Gilbertsville Customers don’t find out and start using this idea – well, if so we will have to figure out a new strategy!
TIPS FOR GROCERY SHOPPING WITH DEMENTIA with LAURIE SCHERRER from Dementia Mentors on Vimeo.
Love & Laughter,
Paulan: You do such a good job of describing what it’s like to have dementia and constantly make accommodations. A bit of humor is always nice too!
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Thank you Paulan. I hope by sharing I am able to help others as they try to overcome some of the obstacles of Dementia Daze.
My mother has dementia and takes 2 to 3 hours at the grocery store. She insists on walking down every aisle to look at EVERY THING and overbuys. If I try to help her with her list, she hides it in her pocket or slaps my hand away. Every store we go in is like Candyland to her. When I try to say I’ll go shopping for her, she gets really angry and insists on coming!! How can I tell her I cannot take her shopping anymore!! It’s lije 3 to 4 times a week and takes forever!
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Renee, Thank you for taking time to share your comment. My husband, Roy and I talked about your question and came up with a few ideas. WIthout knowing all the details, Our thought is that she is finding excusses to go to the grocery store so that she can spend time with you (in particular she wants your attention) and/or just to get out of the house. I’ve heard of people who go to a drug store every week just to hang out. It is familiar and friendly.
Perhaps, you could offer her a distraction by taking her someplace other than the grocery store. Maybe drive around to see the pretty Christmas decorations or go to lunch. When I went through a period of over buying groceries I didn’t need, Roy’s strategy was to call me while he was out and ask if I needed anything from the store. This took away my need to go and he could make sure we really needed what was on the list. I hope this helps! Love & Laughter, Laurie
“Backup plan B” for us is to have a “Tile” attached to the keys. With the Tile app on my phone, I can locate the Tiles attached to critical stuff – and can use the Tile to make my phone ring, even if it’s in vibrate mode.
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Great idea Jose’! I’ll save that trick for when this one stop working. It certainly is a good idea for people that don’t carry a purse! Thank you for sharing.