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  • Writer's pictureKatya De Luisa

The Morning Call

“Good morning, Robert. It's time to get up." Robert opened his eyes and didn't know

where he was or how he got there. The woman standing over the bed was a stranger. She gently shakes his arm and says, "Come on, wake up." He wondered, “Am I dreaming?”

Robert tried to speak but came to an empty place in his mind; the words weren't there. The void widened, and he couldn't remember what he was going to say. He became afraid, then the fear turned to agitation and anger at this stranger.

“Who is she, and what is she doing? Leave me alone!”

He began to resist her efforts to get him out of bed; he couldn't understand what was going on. He stubbornly refused to cooperate and hid his face under the covers. Robert didn't want to get out of bed. Everything was too strange and confusing.

The woman pulled off the blankets, and sat him up with his legs off the bed, then put on his slippers. He felt pulled to his feet, but his legs were wobbly and wouldn't move. He couldn't feel them. Robert looked at his feet, trying to get them to move, but they didn't respond. With a tight grip on his arm, she starts moving him as he awkwardly begins to shuffle next to her struggling to keep up.

She takes him into the bathroom pulls off his pajama’s bottoms. He glances down and

sees he has on a big diaper; its wet and he’s embarrassed. She removes it and sits him

on the toilet and says, “I changed you earlier in the night so I’ll just go ahead and get

you dressed. I have nine more residents to get up for breakfast.

Robert then didn’t remember anything until he found himself being moving through a long hallway lined with doors that seemed to have no end. She was holding onto his arm pulling him along. He didn’t have any thoughts and just mechanically followed her.

He felt dizzy and wanted her to slow down, but his words jumbled. She seemed in a hurry. She was talking to him with a frozen smiled, but he could see she was irritated that he was balking. It only added to the fear that was slowly mounting as the hall began to spin. He suddenly pulled away and felt his legs give way just before he fell to the floor.

What if the aide woke Robert with a soft voice saying, "Good morning, Robert, I'm Margaret, and I'm here to help you get ready for breakfast? It’s a beautiful day. Let’s put on your robe and slippers. Ok, are you ready? I'm going to help you stand up now. There we go; now, let's start slowly walking. Don't worry; I'm holding you tight. You are doing great. We will go to the bathroom first go to breakfast just a little down the hall. We are having your favorite banana pancakes.”

Whether the person with dementia is in a facility or in the family home, it is essential to

follow a similar routine when waking them up. Introducing yourself gives a feeling of familiarity. They might not remember who you are. Even if you are his wife, greet him with, "Morning Robert, it's me, Jane, your wife, and I've made you a wonderful breakfast."

Always explain what you are about to do and give them time to get their body coordinated if they need to move somewhere. They often have trouble, especially after

sleeping, connecting with their bodies, or might feel painfully stiff. Be patient, especially if they are losing communication abilities. Be vigilant if they seem to be unbalanced and hold them in a way that will prevent falls.

Establishing a morning routine which is friendly and each step is explained to your loved one or patient is essential. whether you are bed changing the person, dressing them, or bathing. Its is very important to achieve cooperation and with encouragement and explaining what you are about to do and what you are doing to reduce their confusion.

Remember positive encouragement, a happy attitude, patience and going at their pace

can set the tone for a better day.

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