Last week, I talked about keeping people with Alzheimer’s/dementia busy with an activity, and this week follows in a similar vein. This is mostly about “use it or you lose it,” a motto Home Angels told me about years ago. Basically, it is essential for helping them maintain simple skills that are quickly lost to the disease. Also, I hate folding my own laundry.
I have had Gran help cook, fold laundry, and sweep up around her bird’s cage. Otherwise, she will sit and work on Sudoku puzzles from morning until night. For the most part, this is fine, but we would like her to do a little more physical activity and exercise other parts of her brain. Folding laundry, is a task that she can easily still do, but she detests every bit of it.
It seems laundry folding was the first real insight we had to how much she had declined. We had just taken oven watching her, and my father, who owns a local tavern, was having her fold bar towels. With each towel she pulled from the basket she’d mutter, “son of a bitch,” which was followed by “Mum!!!” from my father who is easily stressed by all her cursing. This continued until all the towels were folded and stacked.
With the changes in personality and lack of basic life skills, it is easy to think that people with Alzheimer’s or dementia cannot do things, or should not do things, but I feel the exact opposite. It provides something to do, and in Gran’s case, she’s going to swear anyway. The bottom line is: the laundry is folded in the end.