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Simple Steps – Getting out of a Chair

Today’s insight discusses how to get a loved one with dementia out of a chair, including actual techniques to help someone stand, and how to diffuse refusals.

Transcription of Video:

Hi, I’m Deb Nygaard with Arthur’s Residential Care with today’s Insights from Arthur’s.

I’m here with Kate Jabe. Kate is the Residential Supervisor here at Arthur’s and she’s volunteered to help me. 

Today’s Insight is about helping someone with dementia to get out of a chair. I talked before about the approach that you have with someone with dementia. You always want to approach from the front and to greet her so she can see you coming: “Hi Kate, it’s Deb. It’s good to see you.” Then we’re going to have her hand be on top so that she’s in charge and then I’m just going to get down to the side and we might chit chat for just a minute. 

“How are you doing today?”
“Good.”
“Good! I just baked some fresh cookies, you want to go get one?”
“No.”
“No? Well I’ve got a delicious new blend of coffee beans — they smell so aromatic, let’s try some.”
“Ok.”
“They’re out in the kitchen, let’s go out there.” 

Now I’m going to pause here for just a second. You see Kate is refusing my first offer, which is perfect because you often don’t get it right the first time. You’ve go to find what is going to motivate your person. It wasn’t cookies — that doesn’t do it, but the fresh coffee, I had a pretty good idea she’d try that.

Now my real goal here is to get her to the bathroom and she won’t go, but I’m going to to distract her with some fresh coffee and delicious beans to get her out of the chair.

Now to get her out of her chair, I’ve still got a good grip on her hand but not so tight I’m hurting her. Then I’m going to give her a number of cues. The first is visual cue:  I’m going to point to the kitchen. This is the direction we’re going to go. I’m also going to take this hand and provide some pressure on her shoulder blade so that I can kind of push her forward. So there’s a physical prompt, there’s a visual prompt, and there’s an auditory prompt. I’m accessing three different parts of her brain to try to get her out of the chair. 

So if we go back into our scenario and I say, “Let’s go get some coffee, ok?”, and I push with my left hand, I’m pointing with this hand and off we go. Now as we walk past the bathroom I’m going to say, “Look, you know as long as we’re here let’s just stop in here, ok? My mom always said you should never pass up an opportunity to pee.” And so on the way you can help to distract a person and get compliance because you haven’t mentioned going to the bathroom at all, and we know that she doesn’t want to do that. 

I’m Deb Nygaard with today’s Insights from Arthur’s.

Contact Deb Nygaard
Director of Development
Arthur’s Residential Care: 651-429-4798