We have changed medications to reduce Lynne’s anxiety in the evenings and eliminate the side effects from previous medications. Medical staff and the nurse have asked me to look for triggers that might increase her anxiety, which would allow us to manage the triggers without increasing medications. Last night I visited her for over two hours and believe I was able to eliminate several triggers. I was thankful I could enjoy two hours and lighten her load, and possibly reduce unneeded medications. It is one of the joys of being a caregiver.
Lynne sat very still in the dining room without focus and headphones, but her backpack with her cellphone was still on. Two caregivers were reading their cellphones at one table and the nurse was working at the medical cart. I read Lynne a note in a card from a friend named Karen, whose name Lynne recognized with a smile on her face and a sparkle in her eyes. I asked the nurse to find the headphones and when I put them on Lynne’s head, they picked up the music from the cell phone in the backpack. She relaxed as she focused on the music. How can we alert all caregivers on all shifts to search for headphones and put them on her to see if they’re working because Lynne relaxes with the music?
She stood up to head down for dinner, and said, “Oh that hurts,” as she pointed to the back of her foot. I took her shoe off, but the heel was hard to get off. The heel strap was too tight, so I loosened it and she slipped it on much easier. She smiled, “That feels better.” She didn’t complain about her feet after that. I understand the podiatrist was going to see Lynne on Thursday, but I haven’t heard anything. The nurse had administered Tylenol to reduce pain Lynne was unable to identify, a trigger.
We had a pleasant dinner followed by watching most of The Sound of Music in the theater, although she walked outside a few times until she wanted to go back. She smiled at me and said, “I like this.” Lynne often sang the lyrics to the sound track. At one moment an aged resident in a wheelchair slowly rolled toward the door calling, “I need help.” It upset Lynne and she got up to help, but a caregiver assisted her. Lynne was still upset and walked into the lobby until I told her the woman had help and she was OK now. Lynne relaxed and we went back in.
Shortly afterward, she said she was ready for bed, and went willingly and pleasantly with the caregiver when I left at 8:20 pm. Using music, adjusting footcare and observing incidents which cause anxiety are ways I feel my caregiving can make a difference, especially when staff want me to give feedback about possible triggers.