Dementia makes Tying Shoes an Impossible Task
When we think of failing memory, we think of lost car keys or forgotten doctor’s appointments, but loss of memory from Alzheimer’s can be so much more than that.
Stored in our memory are hundreds of little things we do every day without realizing that memory is involved at all. Many things we assume will never be forgotten because they come so naturally after years of repetition, can be erased from memory in the blink of an eye. Simple everyday chores are stored neurons of memory. Things as simple as; tying our shoes, or reading the hands on a clock, or pushing buttons on a remote control for the nightly television series or cooking a dinner in the microwave. All those functions are stored in our memories, no matter how slight.
Just a few lost memories can take away a large chunk of life:
- Can’t Tie Shoes
- Can’t push buttons on a Cell phone, Remote Control for Television, Microwave, Computer, and many other things
- Can’t read the hands on a clock
- Can’t decipher the numbers on a calendar
- Lose sense of time
- Can’t adjust bath water
- Can’t decide what to wear; winter, summer, spring, fall
- Can’t use buttons, zippers, etc.
And, when the part of our brain that stores a particular function is damaged by Alzheimer’s, that ability or function is lost forever.
Once Alzheimers begins, the brain is unable to learn new things or retain new information. Hence, any activity removed from our memory through brain damage from Alzheimer’s is lost to us. When we forget how to read a clock, or tie our shoes, or drive a car, or take a shower, we can never re-learn those activities again. Previously learned tasks become impossible without a stored memory of that action in our brain.
As caregivers, we can make life easier for the person with Alzheimer’s by compensating for those lost memories as we are able. We can tie their shoes for them and assist with showering, eating and their other daily activities.
Some things we can buy to help the Alzheimer’s Patient. For a time, they are able to read Digital Clocks and Watches and Calendars. For several years my Mom was able to tell-time with her digital watch. Eventually, they will be unable to read a digital watch either but that may take several years.
Likewise, a simple change of footwear may be in order. A nice slip-on or fasteners secured with Velcro rather than shoe strings might be a good choice. Since the Alzheimer’s Patient is no longer able to tie their shoe strings, the fear of tripping over dangling laces is greater. Keep life easy, comfortable and hassle free for yourself, and your patient. Don’t sweat the small stuff, there are enough crisis in caregiving without worrying about tying shoes.
Many folks are housebound or spend long hours in bed in later stages of Alzheimer’s
All they need is comfy booties to keep their feet warm