Dementia Care: Why can’t Dad remember how to make a cup of tea?
Does finding a tea bag in the kettle sound familiar? Dementia and Alzheimer’s can affect each person differently so supporting someone with the condition can at times be difficult and frustrating. People with dementia will display all kinds of behaviours that may be caused by damage to the brain. When your loved one starts getting simple tasks mixed up, like making tea or coffee, then it could be due to Apraxia, a defect in the brain pathways that contain memory of learned patterns.
A person may have difficulty remembering a series of previously learnt steps such as getting dressed, tying laces or using cutlery. They can usually understand what they want to do but can’t remember each step. To support them, try writing down each step. For making tea you might leave a note near the kettle saying:
- Put water in kettle
- Place tea bag in cup
- Add hot water to cup
- Let it brew
- Add milk
You can also help by labelling items such as the tea bag container or place a label on the kettle, “water only”. Try using a kettle that can only be filled with water through the spout and not through the lid so that putting other items in the kettle isn’t easy.
You may find that these methods for helping can fail as confusion becomes worse and you might have to pop in to clean the kettle and make tea for them. Preparing a flask of tea, clearly labelling it and leaving their favourite teacup out may be an option but remember to put the kettle away.
Find out more about dementia behaviour and communication and discover better strategies for supporting a person with the condition. Home care can be arranged to support people with making drinks, meals and helping them with their daily routines. You can compare registered local care providers at Care Quality Commission. Join us in Care Begins at Home for expert advice and connect with others supporting a loved one in their own home.
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We discuss a wide variety of issues around dementia in our Facebook group Care begins at Home where you will find experts, carers and family members supporting each other as they deal with caring for a loved one.