Do you have a “To Do List”? I do not have a To Do List at this present time. I am a bit obsessive/compulsive, and a To Do List can make me crazy. I get so wound up with the idea of crossing an item off the list, I forget to do things in a logical order. So, I don’t make these lists.
My daughter has such a list. Whether mentally or actually written down, I’m not sure. This week has afforded the pleasure of marking several rather large items off her list. That is a great feeling for her, and I am happy she has made progress.
However, and I say this with a sigh, don’t give your loved one with dementia a To Do List. Simply put, it won’t help a dad-gone thing. In fact, it will become a point of frustration. If they are like my Momma, the list will suddenly disappear. Momma only lives in about 400 square feet, but lists, notes, appointment cards and the like are all swallowed up into a black hole that loves to eat paper. So, I find myself calling Momma with a verbal reminder of things that need to be done.
Let’s take that thought just a little further. I don’t call Momma at 3PM and remind her she needs to do something at 4PM. That is a waste of time for both of us. Momma will forget, I will get frustrated because she forgot, and nothing positive will result. Instead, I call Momma at 3:55 and say, “Momma, you need to be sure and meet Pops in the dining room at 4 o’clock.” At this, Momma will most likely be surprised at the news, agree to put her shoes on, and out the door she will go.
This method of communication works best. Expecting your loved one to keep up with a note,or remembering to read that same note, is unrealistic. Take the time to make either an in-person reminder or a phone call reminder. It is much more effective. Even still, don’t be surprised if the relayed information is forgotten before the telephone good byes have been spoken!