Monday, February 29, 2016

Puzzles To Remember

Good Morning Everyone!
I am home with a little cold today, so I have some free time.
In addition to having my blog, I am also the assistant director for Puzzles To Remember:
I will post here, my introduction that I posted on the Puzzles To Remember website. If you get a chance please check out the website:  Puzzle-solving not only helps the people who have dementia, but the people who love them.  I feel so good when I work on a puzzle with grandma and she becomes so happy when the puzzle is solved!

Hailey Richman
Assistant Director

Hello, I would like to introduce myself. My name is Hailey Richman and I am 8 years old. Mr. Max Wallack has given me the important job of Assistant Director for Puzzles To Remember. Here is a little bit of my background. I have been a caregiver for my grandmother since I was four years old. I would bring things to her, read with her, draw with her, hold her hand and keep her company. Solving puzzles was also an enjoyable activity for us!

I spent a lot of time solving puzzles with grandma. It made grandma and me feel good about ourselves and we would give each other a “high five” after solving one! When I was 5 years old, I noticed other residents at grandma’s assisted living facility. They seemed lonely and confused. I asked them if they would like to join us and solve puzzles too. They were so happy! Then when I got older, I wanted to do more things for others. I asked Mr. Max if he could give me ideas about how I can help even more people. He told me to set up collection boxes in post offices and libraries. I did what he told me and started getting puzzles. My mom helped me deliver them to veteran’s homes, nursing homes and assisted living facilities.

 Now I can do even more things! I am setting up boxes in my apartment building, school, library, post office and places that have after school activities for kids. In the spring, I will ask my principal if we can work with the assisted living facility that is near our school. Children from my third grade class can solve puzzles with the elderly patients who have dementia. My friends are also interested in helping to collect, give out and participate in puzzle-solving. Two of my buddies who go to other schools will ask their principals about collection boxes as well.

 I have also created a support forum for kids that are working as caregivers like me. It is called:  Caregiving is not always easy, especially for a kid! I think it is important for kids to know that they are not alone. There are a lot of kids going through what I do. I think we could help each other, get ideas and tips. If someone has a problem, they can share it on my web blog and together we can help find a solution.

I also have a Facebook page called: Kid Caregivers. I look forward to my role at Puzzles To Remember! Here is a picture of me and my grandma solving a puzzle! As you can see we are excited to begin! 

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Field Trip to the Botanical Gardens

Today we took grandma to the Botanical Gardens.  The weather was lovely. My good friend joined us. She loves to work as a caregiver as well. We took turns wheeling grandma through the Gardens. We also took a tram ride which gives a tour of the Gardens.  Grandma loves flowers and trees so much. Her favorite poem is: Trees by Joyce Kilmer and she recited it to me all the time when I was little.  She knows the poem by heart!  Her favorite tree is the weeping willow.  The tram driver stopped the tram in front of a weeping pine tree.  Grandma was very happy. She started telling me and my friend stories about how she took my mom to a park when she was little and there were beautiful weeping willow trees. I asked my mom if it was true and mom said yes!  I think that when people with dementia are happy and see things that mean a lot to them it helps with their memory.

Some tips: Show the person you are caring for, things they really love. It will make them smile and perhaps they will remember stuff and tell you about the past.  Even if it can't help them remember it will put them in a good mood! This piece of advice applies to everyone, not just people with Alzheimer's Disease!

I would love to hear from other kids!  Do you have a loved one that needs caregiving?  Please share your story. You can write it in the comments section.

Hope everyone had a great day!

Here are some pictures:
I did not take a picture of this tree but it looks like the tree at the Botanical Gardens (which grandma loved).

Here I am with grandma and my friend (assistant caregiver)

Saturday, February 27, 2016

My Facebook page is: kid Caregivers. If you have time, stop by and please check it out! Thanks!
Today,  I took grandma out for an ice cream sundae. We had a lot of fun. Afterwards we went to a pottery store and painted pottery. Lastly we went out for Chinese food. The day was just wonderful. However, getting grandma back into the nursing home was difficult. Because grandma has dementia, she does not always remember that she lives in a nursing home, now.  When brought her back, she did not want to go inside and said that she doesn't live there.  I told her that "I left something upstairs in this building and I need her to come in and help me find it". She agreed, and we took her back to her room.  I have some advice that I would like to share.

Tips for Dealing with Someone Who Has Alzheimer's Disease

  1. Do not argue with them
  2. Go into "their" world
  3. Distract them
  4. Make the person feel useful (I told my grandma that I needed her help and she stopped being difficult and was happy to help me
  5. When all else fails, tell the person that you love them! (you can never go wrong with this one!)

A Day With Grandma

Thursday, February 25, 2016

About Me - My name is Hailey and I am 8 years old.  I have been caring for my grandma since I was four years old.  Grandma has Alzheimer's disease, which means that she has trouble with her memory.  Sometimes, if upsets her and  she gets frustrated when she cannot remember things.  I spend time with her, tell her funny stories and solve puzzles with her. I try to think about ways that we can enjoy ourselves. I hope to hear from other kids about their experiences caring for someone. I would like for other kids to realize that they are not alone!