Time for Thank You

Time for Thank You post page

By Stephanie LandmannNovember 18th, 2021

Time for Thank You

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by Stephanie “Teffie” Landmann, COTA/L,

PAC Support Mentor, Coach, and Trainer

How do you measure time? Do you use a calendar, a watch, a timer, or something else? How long has it been since you have been to the doctor or the dentist, since you ate, or exercised? The answer for these questions varies for me, some are good answers, some could use some improvement. For each of these questions I have an answer. What if I asked; how long has it been since you have done something nice for yourself? That’s a little bit harder to answer. How long has it been since you have praised yourself for doing something for yourself? Wow, I don’t have an answer for that. Consider the conversation below.

Me: Mrs. Thomas, your wheelchair is hard to push today. Is something dragging?

Mrs. Thomas: Yeah

Me: What’s dragging?

Mrs. Thomas: Me.

After evaluating Mrs. Thomas to make sure she’s not physically dragging, I realized she was just referring to how she was feeling in that moment. We had a good laugh about it, but some days we feel like we are just dragging through the day.

There are a million and one things I would like to get done each day on my to-do list. As a care partner, do you feel like there are a million and one things to do each day and not enough time? Are you aware of how much time passes from one task to the other? We spend so much time focusing on each task every day. The tasks are important, yes, but what would happen if we took a moment for ourselves? How would our time awareness change for all the tasks?

Click here for tips on how to save time in dementia care.

When I am using my computer and click on a webpage and… wait… and wait… and wait, the three seconds can feel like forever. To a person living with dementia in an Emerald GEMS State or moderate stage, three seconds is about the time needed to process. As a care partner, a three second processing delay can shift my GEMS State just like my computer can. It feels like time is just dragging.

Let’s see what those three seconds look like:

Take a deep breath. Oh, Mrs. Thomas, look at the brakes. Pause, and count to three in your head.

Mrs. Thomas looks down. Pause, and count to three in your head. Yeah, unlock them, please. Pause, and count to three in your head.

Mrs. Thomas unlocks the brakes. Pause, and count to three in your head. Thank you, that’s a big help.

For me, the key is to pause and fill the time with counting. It helps keep my brain from shifting into a different GEMS State. The key for both Mrs. Thomas and I was the thank you. Take the time to thank yourself and the person you are with.

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