Does a loved one suffer from dementia? Don't give up on visits, conversations, and activities just because someone you care about struggles with periods of confusion or forgetfulness; consider engaging and interacting in a way that puts them at ease and helps make them feel less anxious.
Some tips when you are trying to engage in a meaningful way include:
- Instead of chatting about what is happening right now in your life, bring up some fond recollections and take a trip down memory lane. Many folks with dementia may not remember what happened in recent months but will recall incidents from years back.
- Keep distractions to a minimum. Multiple conversations, loud televisions, or groups of people may be too stimulating and confusing for someone with dementia.
- Be wary of time when visiting. Gauge your loved one's level of anxiety and know when to cut the visit short.
- Don't ask too many questions. It can be confusing for someone with dementia and could cause them to become agitated when pressed for answers.
- Share vintage photos or memorabilia that could spark memories and fond stories.
- Your loved one may repeat the same thing multiple times as they struggle to find a conversation starter or to be polite. Go ahead and repeat yourself several times to your loved one.
- Plan to share quiet time with your loved one. Find a quiet space to watch TV, look at magazines, or simply sit and look at the scenery.
- Don't speak or finish sentences for your loved one. They may struggle to find the right words, but if you give them time, they may be able to say what is on their mind. If they ask for help, readily give it.
- Music has been shown to have amazing benefits for individuals with dementia. Download songs that your loved one may have enjoyed earlier in life and enjoy the music together when you visit.
- Be patient. It can be frustrating and difficult to watch a loved one struggle with dementia. Try to remember it is just as challenging and hard for them.
Talk to staff and neighbors of your loved one regarding what activities they are currently enjoying, foods they may have, or upcoming events that you may also participate in. Some assisted living facilities may welcome family members to meals or scheduled activities.
If you have a loved one with dementia, sometimes it may feel like you are unable to engage in a meaningful way with this person. Use these tips to interact and communicate in a low-stress, no-pressure way, while also spending quality time with your family member.
For more assistance, reach out to a business like Wellspring Meadows Assisted Living.