In Episode 44, Don and I had a candid conversation with Jennifer Fink - Founder and Host of Fading Memories Podcast - about a topic that doesn't seem to get as much attention as it should. Personal hygiene and our loved ones.
As Alzheimer's progresses, poor hygiene can become an issue: people living with dementia (PLWD) often refuse to bathe and even change their clothes. It can even lead to medical problem such as urinary tract infections.
Because Alzheimer’s causes a slow decline of cognitive functions, a PLWD will begin to get confused about seemingly simple things, like how to wash their hair. A PLWD may be overwhelmed and confused by all the products on the bathroom counter, perhaps mistaking a tube of lotion for toothpaste. Sometimes they don't recognize their loved ones or even themselves, so the images they see in the mirror may be confused as strangers!
Sensory perception, especially vision, touch and smell, also changes. This can make a tub of water seem scary as depth perception changes. The water spray from the shower can feel like sharp needles. A smelly shirt may be more comforting than a freshly laundered – but unfamiliar – replacement. Room or water temperature may feel different to the PLWD than it does to us.
Jennifer shares some of the best tips for overcoming the challenges associated with PLWD's and their personal hygiene.
Jennifer spent the first half of her adult life as a portrait photographer, retired from in early 2020. Listening to podcasts became a favorite way to learn new things while walking the dogsor doing household chores. After the death of her father in March 2017, dealing with and caring for her Mother became a much bigger part of her life. Looking to her favorite media in search of answers and not finding what she was looking for, Jennifer decided she would create a supportive podcast that caregivers of Alzheimer’s patients need and deserve.
Jennifer is the daughter, grand daughter & great grand daughter of women who suffered from Alzheimer’s or other cognitive impairment. Looking for answers on how not to become the fourth generation with this problem has led her on this interesting journey with her new passion, podcasting.
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