Sorry if this is a bit long.
MiL was in sheltered accommodation and moved into a care home at the end of last year. She has been wheelchair bound for some years and is also very hard of hearing.
She was already having some trouble with getting a fix on which day of the week it was and with managing her diary, and since moving into the care home it has got significantly worse. I gather that is far from unusual.
She now rings almost every day, and sometimes twice a day, to say that she has a note in her diary that DH is visiting her and why hasn't he turned up.
As patient as we try to be, it is beginning to send her and us slightly crazy. DH can tend towards denial and, at times, is reluctant to consider my suggestions to help her.
Currently, DH usually signs her diary when he has visited and writes his next visit in. He then asks her to find her diary when he calls, asks her to find today's date (often shouting down the phone at her because of her hearing aids/phone problems) and asks her to locate his own handwriting for the next visit. Frankly, it ain't working!
These are some of my thoughts, and I would appreciate any advice as to whether they might help:
- A couple of years ago I bought her a calendar clock that displays the day and full date, but DH doesn't really encourage her to refer to it. I think he should do so.
- Her diary is a small black pocket sized one, easily mislaid. I think she needs an A4 bright red one with the words "diary" in large letters stuck on the front cover. She often has her address book in front of her instead, and that looks very similar to her diary.
- If possible, we should ask the carers (lots of different ones) to make sure the diary is always next to the phone. (Doubt that will happen, as nice as they are.)
- When she calls, DH should ask her to look at the calendar clock, rather than repeatedly telling her the day and date himself. Although she wears glasses, she can see it quite clearly.
- When any family member visits, they should sign her diary, write a few words about the visit and ask her to countersign the entry with a few words of her own. A sort of "visitors' book" within the diary.
- As soon as someone visits at the start of each week, they should "bulldog clip" the previous week's page so the diary automatically falls open at the current week. (I suspect she will take the clip off though.) Maybe clipping the corners of the page instead?
- This one is from the "far side", I suspect, but I have suggested that if we can get her orientated to the right day by doing the above, she might be encouraged to write in her diary who she has called that day, e.g. on 2nd August: "Called Decca", and maybe a few notes about the call.
She is not far gone yet and quite capable of having a sensible conversation much of the time, but this issue is very distressing for her. If any of this might help, or you have other suggestions to make, I would be very grateful for your advice and experience.