No, I am not going to talk about election voting choices today - there is plenty of that happening in mainstream media. No matter what side of the fence you are on, however, we all acknowledge the freedom we have to make our own choice, no matter what the topic or issue at hand. What a right and privilege! Do you have that feeling of satisfaction and independence when you get to make a choice that feels right to you? I know I do. So how does this change for a person with Alzheimer's or other dementia? It changes slightly but not completely. Individuals with dementia may get overwhelmed by too many choices. For instance, when ordering from a menu at a restaurant. One option would be just to order something for the person. But then that 'choice' and the feelings that come with it would not occur. That can make the person feel incompetent, sad, and/or dependent - even if the person cannot voice that this is how they are feeling. So what is the solution? Help the person by narrowing the choices. Maybe give 3 choices or even just 2 choices. Showing them the choices (i.e. pictures on the menu) can help even more. People at a lower level of dementia may not be able to make the choice. That is okay. Just say, "how about we try this first", and then make the decision for them. Then watch the person for positive signs regarding the choice. If it does not seem to be a good choice, then ask "should we try this instead?" and try something else. Although the person is not actually choosing at this level, you are still involving them in the process of choosing by verbally guiding them, watching how they respond, and adjusting accordingly. When you provide care for Alzheimer's, help the person retain their dignity by involving the person in choosing, in whatever adapted way needed.
See the MindStart Word Search books for products that offer multiple levels of difficulty (or choices) all in the same book!