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Old 10-18-2014, 02:05 AM
 
Location: San Diego
459 posts, read 464,647 times
Reputation: 844

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I am new to caregiving so am wondering if this behavior is normal. My husband and I are in our early 30's and we just moved my 98 year-old grandma in last month. She likes her room and doesn't seem depressed or anything but does not want to leave her room. She does have hearing and vision issues that we took her to the doctor for and she has hearing aides and glasses but there is not much more they can do since everything is age related.
Everyday I ask if she wants to come eat with us for breakfast and dinner and she prefers to take her meals in her room. She refuses to go for a walk (she walks a bit then I push her in wheelchair) or even sit outside on her patio. She says she is tired. I understand she has a right to be tired at her age but I can't see how she would be happy sitting in one room all day long. Is this normal behavior? Any advice on how to get her to come out of her shell? Thank you!
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Old 10-18-2014, 06:37 AM
 
2,278 posts, read 2,337,317 times
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Sometimes, even with glasses and hearing aids, being out where there is activity is overwhelming. Those aids don't return a person's hearing and sight to normal at all. Some elderly people describe the feeling as being "bored" or "tired" when it ends being that they really just can't engage in what is going on around them. For them, staying in their rooms or in a favorite chair is more manageable, internally. Some describe feeling "guilty" because they can't interact with those around them. It ends up being easier to stay in a certain location.

There is a group who does training for caregivers that demonstrates what it is like for these folks very well. It's the "Virtual Dementia Tour" by Second Wind Dreams. Fantastic experience. Not only for those who care for someone with a diagnosis of dementia. Not only useful for caregivers of elderly, but for everyone who cares for someone with a decreased ability to process all the sensory input in their world.

Regardless, the person may respond better if activities are taken to them. Familiar things, like folding towels, or tearing lettuce for a salad. Approaching a person from the front, facing them, waiting until you can see they are ready to hear what you say. For some, it takes 10 seconds. For others, up to 90 seconds to process what you are saying or asking. And it's not just dementia that can cause this lapse. Giving them cues as to what is going to happen next. Not only useful for those with a cognitive issue, but also for those who can't pick up on the subtle cues the rest of us see, hear, or feel.

You might be concerned she isn't getting enough exercise. There are many things that can be done while a person is sitting in their favorite area, adding in brief periods of standing. I don't know what her conditions are, so can't recommend anything, but at a regular check up her doctor might at least tell you if there is anything you need to avoid asking her to do.

Bottom line, she is fortunate to have you caring for, and about, her, and I wish you both the best.
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Old 10-18-2014, 11:07 AM
 
7,020 posts, read 6,648,933 times
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You might want to put out a birdfeeder on the patio so she can view wildlife activity. I have them on the decks on both the upstairs and the main level so my mom can have something interesting to look at. She likes to look at the street activity as well. So I opened up curtains in the living room so she has a better view of the neighbors, walkers, and the wildlife. While on the main floor, she can have interaction with the family. In her room, besides the caregiving activities, we view TV programs with her and engage her to discuss the travel shows and news. She eats in the middle level of the house after she comes downstairs around noon. Definitely involve her in having her help you fold the linens and intimate clothing after they came out of the dryer. Having two people involved in folding the sheets almost qualifies as therapy.
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Old 10-18-2014, 05:54 PM
 
Location: Tennessee
16,227 posts, read 21,999,182 times
Reputation: 23996
She may feel like she is in the way, or interfering with you two, even though you have told her she is not.
I would suggest maybe telling her that you want her to come and eat with you, or find an activity that she would like, or maybe suggest taking her to the senior citizens to be around others.
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Old 10-19-2014, 03:43 AM
 
Location: San Diego
459 posts, read 464,647 times
Reputation: 844
Quote:
Originally Posted by branDcalf View Post
Sometimes, even with glasses and hearing aids, being out where there is activity is overwhelming. Those aids don't return a person's hearing and sight to normal at all. Some elderly people describe the feeling as being "bored" or "tired" when it ends being that they really just can't engage in what is going on around them. For them, staying in their rooms or in a favorite chair is more manageable, internally. Some describe feeling "guilty" because they can't interact with those around them. It ends up being easier to stay in a certain location.

There is a group who does training for caregivers that demonstrates what it is like for these folks very well. It's the "Virtual Dementia Tour" by Second Wind Dreams. Fantastic experience. Not only for those who care for someone with a diagnosis of dementia. Not only useful for caregivers of elderly, but for everyone who cares for someone with a decreased ability to process all the sensory input in their world.

Regardless, the person may respond better if activities are taken to them. Familiar things, like folding towels, or tearing lettuce for a salad. Approaching a person from the front, facing them, waiting until you can see they are ready to hear what you say. For some, it takes 10 seconds. For others, up to 90 seconds to process what you are saying or asking. And it's not just dementia that can cause this lapse. Giving them cues as to what is going to happen next. Not only useful for those with a cognitive issue, but also for those who can't pick up on the subtle cues the rest of us see, hear, or feel.

You might be concerned she isn't getting enough exercise. There are many things that can be done while a person is sitting in their favorite area, adding in brief periods of standing. I don't know what her conditions are, so can't recommend anything, but at a regular check up her doctor might at least tell you if there is anything you need to avoid asking her to do.

Bottom line, she is fortunate to have you caring for, and about, her, and I wish you both the best.
Thank you these are some very helpful suggestions! I will definitely watch the video. I like the folding towel idea as well since she keeps asking for things she can do to help but I couldn't think of anything.
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Old 10-19-2014, 03:50 AM
 
Location: San Diego
459 posts, read 464,647 times
Reputation: 844
Quote:
Originally Posted by lchoro View Post
You might want to put out a birdfeeder on the patio so she can view wildlife activity. I have them on the decks on both the upstairs and the main level so my mom can have something interesting to look at. She likes to look at the street activity as well. So I opened up curtains in the living room so she has a better view of the neighbors, walkers, and the wildlife. While on the main floor, she can have interaction with the family. In her room, besides the caregiving activities, we view TV programs with her and engage her to discuss the travel shows and news. She eats in the middle level of the house after she comes downstairs around noon. Definitely involve her in having her help you fold the linens and intimate clothing after they came out of the dryer. Having two people involved in folding the sheets almost qualifies as therapy.
Thank you a birdfeeder is a very good idea. Our house is uspide down and her room is on the first floor. She has a nice patio where a birdfeeder can go. Even though we have nice weather and she has a comfy chair on her patio she won't sit out there because she is afraid of our dogs (3 German Shepherds). I actually think that's one reason she won't leave her room. They can't stay outside since we live on a golf course and aren't allowed to have any fencing so they are mainly indoors or on upstairs deck with potty walks. Not sure what to do about that situation. I don't want to put them in garage all day. And I will definitely have her help with the linens!
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Old 10-19-2014, 03:52 AM
 
Location: San Diego
459 posts, read 464,647 times
Reputation: 844
Quote:
Originally Posted by yankeegirl313 View Post
She may feel like she is in the way, or interfering with you two, even though you have told her she is not.
I would suggest maybe telling her that you want her to come and eat with you, or find an activity that she would like, or maybe suggest taking her to the senior citizens to be around others.
Yes I think this is it as well. She does not feel my husband wants her there even though he is nice and tries to do a lot for her, she still feels she is a burden. She said she will come eat with us in the morning but that was like pulling teeth to get her to agree to that. So many little things I didn't think about!
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Old 10-19-2014, 09:52 AM
 
Location: Tennessee
16,227 posts, read 21,999,182 times
Reputation: 23996
Photos are always a hit with my clients. Its fun to reminisce! Bingo is always fun too.
One time, I had a patient who liked to look through magazines, and clip out the pics that she liked, and then she would glue them on a white sheet of paper, and make herself an album.

I used to work in the Activities dept. and loved to come up with ideas to keep them busy.
Another one was to peel, clean, chop, etc. food to help prepare for meals.
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Old 10-19-2014, 10:17 AM
 
Location: Prescott AZ
5,852 posts, read 8,444,345 times
Reputation: 10726
I'd say give her time. She is probably feeling alot of sadness at what she just gave up to come live with you. It was probably a very familiar surrounding and she misses it. Don't rush things. The older you are, the more time one needs to adjust to new stuff.
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Old 10-19-2014, 03:02 PM
 
4,749 posts, read 6,156,268 times
Reputation: 6712
Oh, well, now that you mention the German Shepherds....that's probably it. They can be scary to people who are not used to having dogs in the house, much less three huge, scary-looking ones.
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