I am pleased that the caretakers have changed his bathing schedule to weekday mornings. He is calmer in the morning, and he likes the staff during the week. He is resistant to shaving and help cleaning on the weekends. I have no problem with him not begin shaved, but when he needs to be cleaned and his underwear changed, I can't always be there. It's definitely easier on the weekends for me to get there, but even then it takes me 30 minutes to arrive. I'm praying he will grow accustomed to the weekend group, but I'm not certain how I can expedite that. I take him with me on Saturday afternoons and evenings, and I take him back around 8:00pm. By that time, he's calm and ready to prepare for bed.
In late March, Shelley and I attended the annual Alzheimer's Symposium for North Texas. It's held each March in Fort Worth, and it is excellent. The keynote speakers are always well versed in Alzheimer's Disease, and this year was no exception. We heard Heather McKay who is dementia care specialist and occupational therapist by trade. She teaches courses at the University of North Carolina, and she has her own company that assists caregivers tremendously. Most doctors speak of Alzheimer's Disease in three major stages with the first being Mild, then Moderate, and finally Severe. Within those three, they may break them down also, and
we are told that Billy is in the late Moderate stage.
Heather McKay shared with us the Levels of Cognitive Decline used by occupational therapists, and it's much more specific. It has five levels with Level 5 equating to Mild. When Shelley and I read through the levels, we could
immediately see that Billy falls into Level 3.
Level 3 – Middle Loss - See It – Touch It – Take It – Taste It – Hunting & Gathering
Touches and handles almost anything that is visible.
Does not recognize other’s ownership – takes things, invades space, gets ‘too close’
Can still walk around and go places – ‘gets into things’.
Language is poor and comprehension very limited - does take turns.
Responds to tone of voice, body language and facial expression.
Loses the ability to use tools and utensils during this level.
Does things because they feel good, look good, taste good – refuses if they don’t.
Stops doing when it isn’t interesting anymore.
Can often imitate you some – But not always aware of you as a person
We also began identifying where most of the other residents were. In the unit, they go down to Level 2, but as they become bed bound, they are moved. Billy touches everything, and most of the residents will move from room to room in the unit and pick up things from others' rooms. We label everything! He is beginning to have issues with his utensils, and he loses interest quickly. He does know his family, and he may not call us by the correct relation (sometimes he says I'm his mom), but he knows I'm family.
I'm posting a video of Billy, and I will post more as we go along. I focused on his behaviors while he waits for his dinner in the dining room. The staff starts taking the residents to the main dining room around 4:30, which creates a really long wait for most of them because dinner is served around 5:30. Billy doesn't go until one of us arrives, so if we are later than 5:15, he eats in the unit. When we get into the dining room, Billy begins his ritual at the table. I call it the Dance of the Silverware.
I had this post written early in the week, then I had to learn how to edit my video which took me hours (literally). I posted it on my blog earlier tonight,and somehow I erased my entire post. Very irritating! Even though I edited a lot of the video out, it may still be too long. I'll get the hang of it soon. I've only been a Mac user since August, and I have MUCH to learn. Now, I'm learning how to use iMovie, and it's awesome!
I look forward to posting more video of Billy and hopefully capturing some of his funnies. He is pretty funny at times. Pardon my Texas twang in the beginning and notice how Billy stirs his Dr. Pepper - his drink of choice. He often adds sugar or sweetener to his DP unless we stop him. At the end
of the video you will see an interesting use of his utensils!
As always, thank you for reading, for caring, and for praying. Peace and love to all.