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posted: February 22, 2009

Timely Tips

Timely Tip: Easing an Elder with Dementia into Bed

As caregivers, we naturally want our loved ones to be comfortable in their surroundings. And while this isn’t always simple, it can be especially perplexing when dealing with an elder suffering from Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia.

However, when it comes to the bedroom, there are ways you can help your loved one with dementia more easily identify where and how to lie in bed:

Sheets are much easier to launder than blankets and spreads. We want to lie between the sheets so that the top and bottom sheets protect the mattress and the blankets from body oils and other things that will soil them.

Sheet sets usually come in the same or coordinated colors. Because their perception is sometimes affected, people with dementia often do not realize that there are two sheets, and that they are to crawl between them.

You can help overcome this common situation by using sharply contrasting colored top and bottom sheets. Be consistent with the colors for top and bottom, always using the same combination to avoid confusion. The different colors will help your loved one recognize that they are to slip between the sheets for sleep. Try to stick to bright, solid colors, as patterns often tend to confuse and agitate those with Alzheimer's or other forms of dementia.

— By Molly Shomer, MSSW, LMSW

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