Quote Originally Posted by razz View Post
One very wise nurse in a nursing home gave me an intelligent and loving answer to my question of "how do you cope with such challenging people?". Her answer changed how I saw those with advancing dementia and other issues. She replied very gently, " I simply see them as small children". See MIL as a frightened child and respond accordingly, gently but firmly. Hard to do, I know, but it does work.
Those with advanced dementia are seen as toddlers. That nurse was an inspiration for many.
I actually, having now seen this in both parents, disagree with the toddler approach. I am finding much more luck with what I am reading in the book Contented Dementia, which argues for getting inside their paradigms, which do make sense to them. My mom is not illogical--she just has the wrong circumstances. She does not act differently than she did when she was a practicing lawyer. So I can't see infantilizing her and looking at her as a toddler when she pulls the dressing off her wound or she finds a way to cut off the wanderer bracelet they have placed on her, which irritates her. At home, all her life, if something bugged her, she dealt with it herself. When she refuses to go to see the doctor, she is acting as she has always done--she always hated doctors, she never went, and why should this be seen as "misbehaving" or "being difficult" or "obstinant"--all of which my brother and the some of the nurses have seen it as. She is being consistent, she just does not understand where she is or why she has been deprived of agency, why she is not allowed anymore to not sign a legal paper she does not understand--that is imminently sensible, and not at all like a toddler. If she thinks she is on a trip somewhere with well-meaning but bossy waitstaff, then she is reacting in a way that makes sense.

Treating her as a toddler, acting as though these are discipline issues--it doesn't seem effective and I would not want someone talking to me as though I were a toddler at this point, even less if I had reached 90, and had life wisdom to share--she still does, by the way, and it is very different than talking to my 3 year old toddler granddaughter, even if both wear diapers.

Although my 3 year old granddaughter has a lot of life wisdom to share, too, lol.