Labeling For The Alzheimer Patient
Making A Difficult Situation Easier
Memory, a core issue with Alzheimer patients, affects every area of life. We moved my Mom to a different residential home with increased care just three weeks ago. She has had to learn the location of her new room in addition to many other important details that seem to constantly elude her. Finding the door to the bathroom in her room was one issue we faced immediately! We came up with an easy solution to reduce her confusion in these new surroundings!
Labeling For RecognitionClick thumbnail to view full-size
An Easy Solution
A quick trip to the local craft store provided an easy and inexpensive solution. We located some colorful cardboard stars along with two sided sticker pads to attach them with. With a black permanent marker, we wrote her name clearly on the star. We only needed a few, but made ten name labels so that we would have extras! We placed the labels to identify her furniture and sections of her room that were hers.
At first, Mom did not have a roommate, however there were two closets and two beds in her room. Which one is mine?
We started our process of labeling by posting her name boldly on the headboard of the bed. Because there was confusion about the closet, it was important to label that area. She has sliding doors which could potentially cover up or hide the name label if closed incorrectly, so we labeled the wall next to the closet door.
Coming into the room through the hallway was challenging. Mom's chair sits in a little entrance inside the bedroom door. We labeled the wall just above her recliner. It identifies her side of the room from the doorway.
There are two towel racks in the bathroom as well as two identical drawers next to the sink. We placed a label just over the towel rack and another on her bathroom drawer.
Remembering the room location Is a challenge. There are four forms of identification on the door and to the side of the door. The care givers have placed a framed picture of each tenant with a short bio next to their respective door. In addition, there is a personalized nameplate next to the picture. That was not enough for Mom. We hung a familiar wreath on her door and then placed a name label, identical to the other labels in her room next to the door and under her room number.
Other Ideas For Labeling
For practical purposes, we have labeled Moms walker with her name, using a label machine. We added a bright yellow artificial flower to the walker from a vase of flowers in Mom's room. It helps the staff identify where the walker goes and to locate it quickly and easily if left in the dining room or down a hallway!
When I returned the next day, Mom was much more settled! She seemed more relaxed and even knew which was her side of the room. The labels helped her to transition much more quickly Into her new environment!
A roommate moved in just a few days ago. The labeling has helped both of the ladies. The roommate's family is going to label their side also. In those moments of confusion, this form of identification may avoid an argument or hurt feelings.
The labeling acts as a form of boundary. All clothing is labeled for laundry purposes. The labels can also protect property when a confused resident wanders into the wrong room!
Dealing with the effects of Alzheimer's disease can be so difficult. Feel free to share some of ideas successful ideas with us! We can all learn from one another!