Pearls are very special to me because my Grandma Kathleen was one. She was not able to talk, walk, bathe or feed herself. She had around the clock care which allowed her to stay in her own home unlike many other Pearls. She would light up when her great-grandchildren would sit by her chair and hold her hand. She would start to get animated and communicate with her 10 year-old great-grandson, whom she thought was her son. At the same moment she was holding the hand of this little boy whom she thought was her son, she would look across the room not able to recognize her actual son that was now in his 50’s.
The Pearl State signifies that somebody is at the end of their journey. Though they spend much of their time sleeping or unaware of the world around them, there will be moments of joy that are there for the taking. With the right care, gradual movements, rhythms and familiar voices, your loved one can still connect with you in this state. Remember to use this time to be together and put your own agenda away, take the time to be their son, daughter, brother, sister and cherish these last moments together. These windows of cognition can last 30 to 45 seconds, but are there to help you come to terms with the fact that this condition is terminal and you will have to say goodbye soon. The brain in the Pearl State is losing its ability to control and heal the body, it is ruled by reflexes and will startle easily. At this stage the body and brain is preparing to depart this world, and the greatest gift you can give is to let your loved one know it's okay to go and provide comfort.
Helpful recommendations to stay present and ease this transition with your Pearl are:
Take time to REALLY notice what is happening with your loved one before you try any care or touch.
They will need lots of time to process what you are trying to tell them. GO SLOW and USE a soothing tone and rhythmic voice to not startle or worry your loved one.
You need to SEE THEM as who they are and talk to the person who still inhabits their body.
Keep them warm and comfortable with soft textures or heavy blankets.
Comfort and connect with your loved one and don’t talk about them as if they are not present.
My Grandma Kathleen was lucky, because she had a son who respected her wishes to stay at home and had wonderful caregivers, who could not have been more loving and gentle. I know not all situations are like my Grandma Kathleen's, but I can do my best to ensure that people remember the journey is not 100% over in the Pearl State and treat their loved one with the respect and support they deserve in this state. The Pearl State is a period of transition for your family and loved one. Just like the gemstone, Pearls are precious, beautiful and deserving of being properly taken care of.
For more information on Gem States or how to confidently care for your loved one living with dementia in the Pearl State, please contact a Trublu Dementia Specialist today!
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