Bathing and Dementia

Little Duck

We’ve all done it – stepped into a shower at a hotel or a friend’s house and not been able to immediately figure out just how to turn it on!  When individuals with dementia clearly have difficulty with linear thought processes (If I do A, then B should occur.), it should come as no surprise that even the most simple tasks can at times seem overwhelming.

Think with me, if you will, how many steps there are in taking a bath or shower: Getting into the bathroom, removal of clothing, turning on the water, adjusting the water temperature, remembering that you haven’t actually bathed yet and getting into the tub or shower, getting wet, deciding which product is supposed to be used, rinsing, finding a towel, drying off, dressing in clean clothing…

Can you see how this is a difficult process for someone who has difficulty remembering more than one request at a time or who simply can’t remember that they just asked a question that you’ve answered 3 times in the last 10 minutes?

The key to all care for those with dementia is to simplify.  

  • Bathe or shower at a good time for your loved one and attempt to do that consistently.
  • Also, attempt to eliminate all products that are not needed.  Sometimes, we have so many products in the shower or by the tub that it is confusing for the one with dementia or limited vision to know what to use.
  • It may be easier to bathe or shower with the individual as their dementia increases, which is much easier for spouses to do than for an adult child caring for a parent.
  • Sometimes as the disease progresses, relationships are confused, particularly if someone believes themselves to be much younger than they are, and they object to disrobing in front of that ‘old’ woman or man who is likely their spouse.  At Page Robbins, we provide personal care services and can provide bathing for your loved one to assist you and to take that one issue off your plate.

If you have additional situations about which you are seeking advice, ideas for future blog posts that you would like to see, or specific questions, give us a call at 901-854-1200, drop by, or send us an email (katie@pagerobbins.org), and we’ll do our best to assist you.

Written by: Herbie Krisle, Executive Director


What Would My Loved One Do at an Adult Day Care?

For National Adult Day Services Week, we want to raise some awareness about the benefits of adult day services.  Help us spread the word by sharing what adult day programs have to offer!

Glynn, Joyce, Glenn, and Mickey antique car- Best Pic

Many people have a very misguided notion that an adult day care center “warehouses” individuals and that they sit and do nothing all day.   Nothing could be further from the truth for those that are run well. While every adult day care operates a bit differently, the best ones work diligently to keep their participants actively engaged while they are at the center.  Adult day programs are an excellent middle ground between around-the-clock in-home care and residential nursing home care.

While there are differences in offerings at adult day care centers, at Page Robbins we divide our participants into groups based on their cognitive functioning to encourage conversation and friendships.  We have so many men that attend, they have formed their own men’s group!   We want a comfort level to be felt among the participants.   Each group has a daily schedule that might look similar to a school schedule, including some form of art, music and exercise; however, all activities are adult appropriate – nothing childlike.

Jack C and Jimmy mosaic- Best Pic

Participants come to us after a long life of working or homemaking.  Many of them have had no real hobbies, so it is interesting to observe them painting or working on jigsaw puzzles.   We have many opportunities for participants to express their creativity and learn new skills through art, music, and dance.  Remembering how to dance seems to come quite easily for our participants and some clearly were stars on the dance floor in their day.

Music and the lyrics learned years ago seem to be some of the very last memories to leave those with dementia.   While they may not be able to remember their children’s names or what they had for breakfast, many can sing multiple verses of favorite hymns that have been sung over a lifetime.  “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” and patriotic songs are also remembered and sung with gusto.   We even use music from The Beetles, Johnny Cash, Bruce Springsteen and Elvis during exercise and sing-a-longs.   We also play a variety of musical instruments and move to music, incorporating range of motion in exercise.

Barbara and husband dance

The remainder of the day is spent doing other productive and engaging activities.   Many of the women, in particular, have missed food preparation.   We bake cookies, make banana pudding, snap beans, shell peas, and shuck corn that we then get to enjoy for lunch or snack.

In our garden, we have some raised flower beds that can be tended and bird feeders to be filled.  We may sit on the screened porch and have lemonade and talk about catching lightning bugs as children or reminisce about by-gone days.   Should an individual want or need to be in a quiet place, we have a den that has low lighting and soft music playing along with comfortable chairs and picture books to unwind a bit.

Individuals with dementia have much greater levels of stimulation and interaction in a group day care setting than single individuals can ever provide for them at home.   You are invited to come to Page Robbins at any time for a tour and to envision your loved one here.

Written by: Herbie Krisle, Executive Director


Quick Tips for Travel

quick travel tip pic
In lieu of our last blog post, we have compiled a list of printable and shareable tips for those traveling with a loved one with dementia.

Tips for Travel PDF

These quick tips include:

  • 3 essentials to have for all types of travel
  • Advice on car and air travel
  • Advice for hotel stays

This list of tips is not comprehensive, but we hope this information will serve as a helpful starting point for any future trips you may plan.  From family reunions and weddings to excursions to see grandchildren, children, and other family members, we wish you safe and happy travels!  If you have additional travel situations about which you are seeking advice or if you have specific questions, give us a call at 901-854-1200, drop by, or send us an email (katie@pagerobbins.org).  We would love to hear from you.


Tips for Traveling with a Loved One with Dementia

Travel Blog - Herbie
Traveling with an individual with dementia can be tricky. And while he or she is not going through a second childhood, I would ask that you think back to a time when you were traveling with an infant or toddler to think of some of the things you did to prepare for such a trip.

Identification is imperative. Whether you are traveling by car, boat, train or plane you must make certain that the one with dementia has identification on their person that not only identifies them but also identifies you and a contact that is not traveling with your party. There are methods of identification, but the Safe Return bracelet through the Alzheimer’s Association is a great choice. (Click here for more information on the Safe Return bracelet from the Alzheimer’s Association.) Also, a simply laminated card or a dog tag can list essential identification information.

A passport pocket is another good way to have ID and contact information for the individual, whether or not a passport is necessary. It is a thorough form of identification and is visible around a person’s neck – a great method. And YOU need similar identification indicating that you are traveling with someone who has dementia and needs assistance. Finally, be sure to have a recent photo of the one with dementia on your phone or with you in case he or she becomes lost.

If you are traveling by car, be certain to have a cell phone and subscribe to a roadside assistance program, so you won’t have to leave the vehicle if a problem occurs. Leave an itinerary and a description of the route you are taking with people on either end of your route. If possible, have two drivers rather than traveling alone with the one with dementia. If you are driving alone, and the driver becomes ill or tired, there would be no one to be responsible for the one with dementia.

Always have water and snacks on hand as well as additional disposable undergarments, wipes and gallon zip top bags to seal used undergarments and wipes in, and always have a change of clothes and shoes in case of accidents. Some familiar music and/or magazines would also be great additions to longer journeys to help pass the time.

When selecting a place to stay, a hotel with inside doors, rather than a hotel with doors that open to a parking lot, is much more secure. Wherever you spend the night, alert an employee at the lobby desk or the lodging manager that you are traveling with an individual with dementia. If your loved one leaves the room or becomes disoriented, the staff can be more helpful if they are informed. Changes in surroundings can cause temporary declines in individuals with dementia, and confusion can ramp up. Be prepared for this. Just because you’ve made the trip to this location many times, don’t anticipate that it will be the same as it always has been.

If you’re traveling by air, have a letter from a physician for the TSA, so there will hopefully be less difficulty if your loved one is singled out for further screening. Also, alert the airline that you are traveling with someone with dementia. When traveling with my daughter, I often found it easier to be seated in the front row, bulkhead seats. I never traveled with Mother by air, but I would suspect that sitting in these front row seats with her would have been the easiest seating option as well.

If you’re attending a gathering, such as wedding or reunion, have another person ready to assist in case the individual with dementia becomes over stimulated and needs a break from the action when you can’t take a break.

We wish you happy and safe travels! If you have additional travel situations about which you are seeking advice or if you have specific questions, give us a call at 901-854-1200, drop by, or send us an email (katie@pagerobbins.org), and we’ll do our best to assist you.

Written by: Herbie Krisle, Executive Director


Care & Share Archive

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  • October 16, 2013

    Bathing and Dementia

    Little Duck

    We’ve all done it – stepped into a shower at a hotel or a friend’s house and not been able to immediately figure out just how to turn it on!  When individuals with dementia clearly have difficulty with linear thought processes (If I do A, then B should occur.), it should come as no surprise that even the most simple tasks can at times seem overwhelming.

    Think with me, if you will, how many steps there are in taking a bath or shower: Getting into the bathroom, removal of clothing, turning on the water, adjusting the water temperature, remembering that you haven’t actually bathed yet and getting into the tub or shower, getting wet, deciding which product is supposed to be used, rinsing, finding a towel, drying off, dressing in clean clothing…

    Can you see how this is a difficult process for someone who has difficulty remembering more than one request at a time or who simply can’t remember that they just asked a question that you’ve answered 3 times in the last 10 minutes?

    The key to all care for those with dementia is to simplify.  

    • Bathe or shower at a good time for your loved one and attempt to do that consistently.
    • Also, attempt to eliminate all products that are not needed.  Sometimes, we have so many products in the shower or by the tub that it is confusing for the one with dementia or limited vision to know what to use.
    • It may be easier to bathe or shower with the individual as their dementia increases, which is much easier for spouses to do than for an adult child caring for a parent.
    • Sometimes as the disease progresses, relationships are confused, particularly if someone believes themselves to be much younger than they are, and they object to disrobing in front of that ‘old’ woman or man who is likely their spouse.  At Page Robbins, we provide personal care services and can provide bathing for your loved one to assist you and to take that one issue off your plate.

    If you have additional situations about which you are seeking advice, ideas for future blog posts that you would like to see, or specific questions, give us a call at 901-854-1200, drop by, or send us an email (katie@pagerobbins.org), and we’ll do our best to assist you.

    Written by: Herbie Krisle, Executive Director


    September 20, 2013

    What Would My Loved One Do at an Adult Day Care?

    For National Adult Day Services Week, we want to raise some awareness about the benefits of adult day services.  Help us spread the word by sharing what adult day programs have to offer!

    Glynn, Joyce, Glenn, and Mickey antique car- Best Pic

    Many people have a very misguided notion that an adult day care center “warehouses” individuals and that they sit and do nothing all day.   Nothing could be further from the truth for those that are run well. While every adult day care operates a bit differently, the best ones work diligently to keep their participants actively engaged while they are at the center.  Adult day programs are an excellent middle ground between around-the-clock in-home care and residential nursing home care.

    While there are differences in offerings at adult day care centers, at Page Robbins we divide our participants into groups based on their cognitive functioning to encourage conversation and friendships.  We have so many men that attend, they have formed their own men’s group!   We want a comfort level to be felt among the participants.   Each group has a daily schedule that might look similar to a school schedule, including some form of art, music and exercise; however, all activities are adult appropriate – nothing childlike.

    Jack C and Jimmy mosaic- Best Pic

    Participants come to us after a long life of working or homemaking.  Many of them have had no real hobbies, so it is interesting to observe them painting or working on jigsaw puzzles.   We have many opportunities for participants to express their creativity and learn new skills through art, music, and dance.  Remembering how to dance seems to come quite easily for our participants and some clearly were stars on the dance floor in their day.

    Music and the lyrics learned years ago seem to be some of the very last memories to leave those with dementia.   While they may not be able to remember their children’s names or what they had for breakfast, many can sing multiple verses of favorite hymns that have been sung over a lifetime.  “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” and patriotic songs are also remembered and sung with gusto.   We even use music from The Beetles, Johnny Cash, Bruce Springsteen and Elvis during exercise and sing-a-longs.   We also play a variety of musical instruments and move to music, incorporating range of motion in exercise.

    Barbara and husband dance

    The remainder of the day is spent doing other productive and engaging activities.   Many of the women, in particular, have missed food preparation.   We bake cookies, make banana pudding, snap beans, shell peas, and shuck corn that we then get to enjoy for lunch or snack.

    In our garden, we have some raised flower beds that can be tended and bird feeders to be filled.  We may sit on the screened porch and have lemonade and talk about catching lightning bugs as children or reminisce about by-gone days.   Should an individual want or need to be in a quiet place, we have a den that has low lighting and soft music playing along with comfortable chairs and picture books to unwind a bit.

    Individuals with dementia have much greater levels of stimulation and interaction in a group day care setting than single individuals can ever provide for them at home.   You are invited to come to Page Robbins at any time for a tour and to envision your loved one here.

    Written by: Herbie Krisle, Executive Director


    August 12, 2013

    Quick Tips for Travel

    quick travel tip pic
    In lieu of our last blog post, we have compiled a list of printable and shareable tips for those traveling with a loved one with dementia.

    Tips for Travel PDF

    These quick tips include:

    • 3 essentials to have for all types of travel
    • Advice on car and air travel
    • Advice for hotel stays

    This list of tips is not comprehensive, but we hope this information will serve as a helpful starting point for any future trips you may plan.  From family reunions and weddings to excursions to see grandchildren, children, and other family members, we wish you safe and happy travels!  If you have additional travel situations about which you are seeking advice or if you have specific questions, give us a call at 901-854-1200, drop by, or send us an email (katie@pagerobbins.org).  We would love to hear from you.


    August 1, 2013

    Tips for Traveling with a Loved One with Dementia

    Travel Blog - Herbie
    Traveling with an individual with dementia can be tricky. And while he or she is not going through a second childhood, I would ask that you think back to a time when you were traveling with an infant or toddler to think of some of the things you did to prepare for such a trip.

    Identification is imperative. Whether you are traveling by car, boat, train or plane you must make certain that the one with dementia has identification on their person that not only identifies them but also identifies you and a contact that is not traveling with your party. There are methods of identification, but the Safe Return bracelet through the Alzheimer’s Association is a great choice. (Click here for more information on the Safe Return bracelet from the Alzheimer’s Association.) Also, a simply laminated card or a dog tag can list essential identification information.

    A passport pocket is another good way to have ID and contact information for the individual, whether or not a passport is necessary. It is a thorough form of identification and is visible around a person’s neck – a great method. And YOU need similar identification indicating that you are traveling with someone who has dementia and needs assistance. Finally, be sure to have a recent photo of the one with dementia on your phone or with you in case he or she becomes lost.

    If you are traveling by car, be certain to have a cell phone and subscribe to a roadside assistance program, so you won’t have to leave the vehicle if a problem occurs. Leave an itinerary and a description of the route you are taking with people on either end of your route. If possible, have two drivers rather than traveling alone with the one with dementia. If you are driving alone, and the driver becomes ill or tired, there would be no one to be responsible for the one with dementia.

    Always have water and snacks on hand as well as additional disposable undergarments, wipes and gallon zip top bags to seal used undergarments and wipes in, and always have a change of clothes and shoes in case of accidents. Some familiar music and/or magazines would also be great additions to longer journeys to help pass the time.

    When selecting a place to stay, a hotel with inside doors, rather than a hotel with doors that open to a parking lot, is much more secure. Wherever you spend the night, alert an employee at the lobby desk or the lodging manager that you are traveling with an individual with dementia. If your loved one leaves the room or becomes disoriented, the staff can be more helpful if they are informed. Changes in surroundings can cause temporary declines in individuals with dementia, and confusion can ramp up. Be prepared for this. Just because you’ve made the trip to this location many times, don’t anticipate that it will be the same as it always has been.

    If you’re traveling by air, have a letter from a physician for the TSA, so there will hopefully be less difficulty if your loved one is singled out for further screening. Also, alert the airline that you are traveling with someone with dementia. When traveling with my daughter, I often found it easier to be seated in the front row, bulkhead seats. I never traveled with Mother by air, but I would suspect that sitting in these front row seats with her would have been the easiest seating option as well.

    If you’re attending a gathering, such as wedding or reunion, have another person ready to assist in case the individual with dementia becomes over stimulated and needs a break from the action when you can’t take a break.

    We wish you happy and safe travels! If you have additional travel situations about which you are seeking advice or if you have specific questions, give us a call at 901-854-1200, drop by, or send us an email (katie@pagerobbins.org), and we’ll do our best to assist you.

    Written by: Herbie Krisle, Executive Director