I am an occupational therapist, specializing in developmental disabilities. I had never planned to work in the area of geriatrics. However, when my mother developed Alzheimer’s disease, I was thrust into the world of home care, Medicare, assisted living and nursing homes. Fortunately, as an occupational therapist, I had years of experience adapting environments and creating activities to promote functional skills and quality of life. I wrote Still Giving Kisses: A Guide to Enjoying and Helping the Alzheimer's Victim You Love to share how I helped my mother enjoy her life as best as possible, as she regressed through the stages.
I could not help but notice that many residents in my mom’s assisted living and later her nursing home had few visitors. I believe that common reasons include
- Friends and loved ones are scared and confused about the person’s decline
- Friends and family do not know how to relate to a person who may no longer speak or seem to recognize them.
- And most sadly, friends and family think that the person has so little awareness that the visitor's presence is of no value.