Routines Are Important for Those Suffering from Lewy Body Disease


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caregiverimg.jpg​Individuals who suffer from Lewy body disease often benefit from maintaining routines.  Why?  Because the part of the brain that controls habits is different from the part that controls memories of recent events and skills.  When a person with Lewy body disease performs repetitive tasks frequently, the action utilizes the ‘habit forming” part of the brain and doesn’t draw as much on the part of the brain that has weakened and become less adept at remembering things.

Here are a few tips to help aid your loved one in setting and maintaining a routine:

Determine which routines are useful.  Because you are in close and regular contact with your loved one, you know what he or she is capable of and can handle.  You also know which actions and activities lend themselves to routine.  These might include getting dressed, brushing teeth, setting the table, feeding the dog, dusting furniture, making the bed, or walking to the school bus stop to pick up a grandchild.

Define the “rules” of each routine.  Talk with your loved one about the steps involved in a routine and, if necessary, say the steps out loud as you go through the routine together.  For instance, you might say, “It’s 3:00 pm now.  We need to pick Ginny up from the bus stop.  Let’s put on our shoes.  Now let’s put on a sweater.  Please open the door.  We’re going to go down the front stairs now.  There are three of them.  One…two…three.  Now let’s walk to the sidewalk and turn right.  We will walk to the corner and wait there for Ginny.”

Vary the routine as little as possible.  The more the routine remains the same from day to day, the easier it will be on your loved one.

Limit the options.  Making choices can be confusing for individuals with Lewy body disease.  You may want to choose the clothes that your loved one will wear, or pick out only two choices.

Consider what your loved one likes now or liked in the past and incorporate that into a routine.  If yellow was your loved one’s favorite color, try to make it a part of his or her daily clothing choices.  If he or she had a fondness for a particular set of napkins or dishes, try to use those when possible.

Modify as necessary.  If your husband can no longer open the cat food can, open it for him but let him still put the food on a plate and put the plate down for the cat.

Recognize that sometimes you have to vary a routine.  Emergencies come up or unforeseen events occur.  Accept that this is inevitable and that you may have to skip a routine or two one day.  Get back to it as soon as possible, but remember that you are only human and some things just are beyond your control.

Dealing with Lewy body disease can be a challenge.  Setting up and sticking to routines can help to alleviate a few of those challenges for you and your loved one.

Resources:


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- newportnews.myhomecareblog.com

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