My mother-in-law has been using free charity monthly calendars for years, marking off days gone by, and referencing it for appointments. We would write the pickup time and until this past summer, she was good at being ready to go at the pick up time. Through a gradual process, she stopped marking off the days and if she references it, the time just is forgotten as soon as she looks at it. She seems to forget the month and year and most times can't keep track of the day of the week. We did recently get her a dementia clock with the day of the week and date completely spelled out. Time will tell but think that will help her keep more oriented to time, day, month and year. As we approach 2023, we are trying to figure out what sort of paper calendar would work best for her. Should we record upcoming appointments on a monthly or weekly calendar? Any recommendations?
I'm sure you could find a similar one on Amazon. They're similar in size to a desk blotter-sized calendar, but bigger.
I got a calender from Staples that covers the freezer door of my refrigerator. The blocks are about 2 1/2 in square. You write in the month and days. Its like a white board.
I would use the boards for staff reminders, reminders of special ALF activities, and often wrote little personal notes assuring her I would be back and that I loved her. She seemed to understand those notes very well.
A day is the same as the one before it, the one after it and the one after that.
At some point I think you accept that days are days and meaningless.
YOU become her calendar, her appointment book. You are the one she relies on to get her to the doctor, hair dresser. As long as you are there then she is all set.
Remind her the day before an appointment. Arrive with enough time to make sure she is ready.
If she is living in AL the staff can assist with making sure she is ready. If she is living alone (might want to rethink that) make sure you get there early enough to help if need be. Read your profile, glad she is in AL, have the staff remind her about appointments and help her get ready the morning of.
Alexa has become invaluable to my wife and me as we caretake for my mother. We use Alexa to remind mom to take meds, do her PT, etc. We find Alexa to be a polite micro-manager. And, mom likes to say "Hey, Alexa, play me some music," too. :)
FYI, I have no monetary affiliations with Alexa, any type of the same system should work. It's just what we have so we use it.
I plan to get a calendar for 2023 that shows only one day at a time and tear off the page each day. He often asks what do we have to do today so I plan on posting the events for only that day. If he is aware of events too far ahead, he becomes anxious trying to be sure he is ready so he doesn't miss anything. My husband is having trouble keeping track and often asks what day it is and a monthly or weekly calendar is no longer helpful to him.
So, what I did was switched to just me keeping track of her stuff on my google calendar and no longer telling her plans or appointments until the last minute. Cut down on the incessant questions over and over about the plans. So instead of hearing if for days or weeks, I only have to hear it for one day.
The only thing my mom needs to know is about half an hour before the appointment, it's time to get ready cuz we're leaving. There is no need for her to know earlier since she won't remember and won't get ready without being told to, even if it is on a wall calendar.
Dates, meetings, appointments....do not exist in her mind. I take care of all that and Mom exists in various times of the past.
You are helping her to relax about things that she has no control over, and she knows that you are taking care of all the important stuff - she has no need to worry!
Just what we would all like to have at her age!!
And I know that my daughters will give me that peace of mind when I get more 'wobbly' than I already am.
Lots of love to all from Bristol, England!
I’d tell her about an appointment the day before, write the simple facts on a colourful sheet of paper and post it in an obvious spot, then remind her that morning, and again, an hour before we were to leave.
The tearaway calendar sounds good. But the date portion may mean nothing.
With my mother, dates lost all meaning, but she continues to acknowledge time. She still asks what time it is and makes appropriate comments, like being hungry for dinner late in the afternoon.
I should start arriving to pick her up in time for her to get ready before leaving, if I were you. By all means keep her calendar updated *as well*, but it sounds as if the problem is not what kind of calendar she has but that she has stopped referring to it at all, unprompted at least. And there isn't really a format which can fix that.
Keeping track of time and date is, when you think it through, an enormously sophisticated and complex process, and little bits of it can go wrong before it all does. A week ago a lady in her nineties told me what day it was (check) and was pretty good on estimating the time (check) and calculating how long ago she'd arrived home (check). I was yippeeing inside. Then I asked her her date of birth and she was floored. Hadn't a clue.
Stick with your Alzheimer's clock, although she will soon be unable to follow it soon:
When my mother had to move out of regular AL and into Memory Care AL, this was why: b/c she needed help with everything due to her short term memory being gone. Short term memory is what keeps us able to function in life. It's what keeps us able to take a shower b/c we remember the steps involved IN taking a shower. A person with dementia does not. She can walk into the shower and then forget what to do next. Or think "Oh I just took a shower 5 minutes ago" when in reality, it was 5 days ago. They lose all sense of time and place. They wander b/c they forget why they went somewhere, like out the front door and say, "What am I doing here?" Short term memory helps us put water in a pot on the stove, light the stove, wait for the water to boil, then pour that water in a cup for tea. A person with dementia can forget why the pot was put on the stove immediately after it was placed on there, walk away, and wind up burning the house down or starting a stove fire.
That said, expecting a senior with dementia to use a calendar is too far reaching b/c she's lost that ability now. Moving her into Memory Care now is the best thing you can do b/c the human caregivers will be her 'memory' and keep her moving from thing to thing, from event to event, ensuring that she's on time for those events, dressed, cleaned, changed into a clean brief, etc. Hair brushed, teeth cleaned, lotion applied. Because if she were to rely on herself, she'd be able to get nothing done. Even a dry erase board or notes left in my mom's room became too much for her to handle; she'd forget they were there. She'd fall all the time for forgetting she could not walk. That's how bad short term memory loss can get; it's an awful thing, truly.
I suggest you read this 33 page booklet (a free download) which has THE best information ever about managing dementia and what to expect with an elder who's been diagnosed with it.
Understanding the Dementia Experience, by Jennifer Ghent-Fuller
Wishing you the best of luck with a difficult situation.