Sunday, March 11, 2012

In the Zone

In education, there is what's referred to as the "zone of proximal development". According to L. S Vygotsky, who coined the phrase, the ZPD is the distance between what a child can do with parental support/assistance and what he/she can already do. In Alzheimer's disease, there is just the opposite happening, let's call it the zone of proximal decline (ZPD).

In our ZPD, Mummy has lost the ability to hand wash properly. This means one of several things must occur if we are to avoid a repeat of last month's stomach flu mess: either, someone (probably the PCG - primary care giver), must stand at the bathroom door to initiate and supervise proper hand washing, or the PCG must stand at the ready with hand sanitizer to sanitize hands prior to each meal, or still the P and/or SCG (secondary care giver) must wipe all surfaces, kitchen and bathroom, at the end of every day. We're trying for 1 or 2 and 3. I make no promise to be standing at the bathroom door, though one more bout of stomach flu and you may find me standing, sentry like, waiting for her to come out of the pink room. I'm just sayin'. I ain't going through that again. Not if I can help it.

Vigilance is critical. Given our recent stomach flu drama (which eventually hit all three adults), we really haven't too many choices. In addition to needing a little supervision with the post potty washing, Mummy also has a tendency to touch the trash can with a hand that typically ends up massaging her chin. She's forgotten that the can has a pedal. (They weren't quite so fancy in her day, so that's something she learned about recently. Obviously, that's long gone knowledge. So too probably, the childhood habit of hand washing.) This state of affairs presents a huge opportunity for some germ that's lollygaggin' on the trash can lid just waiting to hitch a ride into someone's gut. Oh the thought!

I wonder, is anyone studying this stuff? I mean seriously, where the heck is the manual? Surely there's an Alzheimer's caregiver 'What-to-look-out-for-and-what-to-do-about-it' booklet somewhere? Or, as I had to ask my cousin a couple of days ago, are we all just making it up as we go along?

If you washed your hands you could prevent any of these diseases

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