Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Time for Timers

Let's get creative!

When you are faced with an anxious person who is hovering mere inches from you for every waking moment, how do you get a few minutes away to do things like use the restroom?  How do you step away for a quick call without someone listening in and critiquing your word choices?  How do you keep from losing your patience when you don't get a moment to think without assistance?

It takes a lot of patience and irritation is going to happen even with the most patient person.

In the moment that you need to go to the restroom and you find another adult hot on your heels to join you, you could snap at them or close the door in their face.  That will cause confusion, an increase of anxiety and potentially anger.  Instead, a kitchen timer may be of assistance.

Set the timer for the time you need such as 5 or 10 minutes.  Give the timer to the individual and tell them that you need to step away for a just a few minutes.  Tell them that the timer will keep the time for them and that you will be back before timer dings.

For some individuals with Alzheimer's this technique works well.  It gives them a tangible reminder that you're just around the corner and will be right back.  Otherwise they feel like they have been abandoned and are lost.  The hovering behavior is a direct result of their anxiety and sense of know knowing where they are in their environment.

Lyn's firmly in this stage and her hovering seems to be peaking.  She is keeping in near constant contact when she's home with Mom.  The house layout allows Lyn to see Mom from nearly every room if Lyn's not in her room.  If the phone rings, Lyn comes and stands next to Mom to listen in.  When Mom needs to step away for a minute, she tells Lyn where she's going before she steps into the other room.  She may say she's going to the restroom or into her room to change for church.  Within a minute, Lyn's knocking at the door asking where Mom's at and telling her that Nikka is looking for her.  Lyn's trying to cover for the fact that the anxiety is her own and not the dog's.

Mom has a kitchen timer and is going to start trying this technique with Lyn.


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