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Disorienting experiences in care homes

My Grandma lives in a care home and has mild-moderate dementia. Because of coronavirus, the staff must all be dressed in full PPE. This means she cannot see their faces and so does not recognise the people around her. Being surrounded by people in such strange outfits must be very scary.

Residents are also being confined to her room and only being allowed into the common areas in shifts. This prevents grandma from socialising with her friends, which is what she enjoys most. Although I haven't had direct contact with her, I'm told that grandma's mental condition is deteriorating. What can we do to make the experience of being stuck in a care home on lockdown less oppressive?  

edited on Apr 6, 2020 by Natasha Morgan
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Margaret Booth Apr 6, 2020

Patterned scrubs would help I think but I guess at present you must take what you can.
And now they are looking at masks with transparent windows.

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Simon Wheeler May 6, 2020

Thanks, Margaret. It's a lovely idea but sometimes patterns like this can be quite confusing when the person with dementia has problems with visual perception. That's why we tend to recommend plain (and boring, I'm afraid!) clothing and interior decor. That's not to say we can't make the scrubs more personalised and friendly, but patterned textiles may not be the best way to do this.

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Margaret Booth May 11, 2020

I guess that’s explains why the laundry keeps getting mixed up in care homes.

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Lynne Hart Apr 9, 2020

Both my parents are in the same care home with Dementia, although they don't spend time together as they are aggressive towards each other. But obviously I cannot visit. I have had WhatsApp videocalls with them but this has proved to be problematical as neither really understand what is going on. Mum thinks she is talking to a photograph of me, and Dad is just in his own little world but seems okay with it. Mum has already said she's lonely because she doesn't have any visitors. I worry that the longer this goes on, they will forget who I am, and will become even more disorientated. The staff are marvellous and are looking after them so well - they are to be applauded.

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Jennifer Bute Jun 3, 2020

It is very confusing but often the person introducing themselves and using a cheerful voice explaining everything if necessary again and again and more hand gestures helps Engaging with each resident in some past familiar way reminding them of familiar patterns but it is always the feelings that are conveyed that are most important

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Lesley Heath Dec 4, 2020

Not a good picture...going into home wearing gloves will save the door perhaps?? Seriously, people in mid/later stages do struggle with technology. So maybe go back a few years and consider the reimagining of old technology? Maybe something like a speaker fone and a list of names/pictures that the individual usually talks with with assigned numbers? A good old gas on the fone? Could also include carers who could get a group going this way?

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