If your loved one is living with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, you may be searching for ways to remain connected. As a progressive disease, behaviors and symptoms will often increase while the ability to communicate verbally can decrease.
Although there are challenges, families who prioritize the importance of interaction can learn different steps to help support their time together.
Quality of life is still valuable for an individual diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. Although it may take a more focused or creative approach, you can discover suggestions and activities that will help you share meaningful moments and find joy in life.
Consider these tips:
The Alzheimer’s Association reminds us that each person responds differently to dementia so it’s important not to make any assumptions. Other recommendations include respecting their independence when encouraging engagement. Ask what they would like to do when planning activities or if they need help before offering assistance.
Those living with dementia often feel isolated and cut off from others. They may be hesitant to socialize and family and friends may not visit as often out of fear of doing or saying the wrong thing. Yet your loved one needs the interaction. Encourage others to remain connected and find ways to spend enjoyable time together.
Although each individual can respond differently to dementia, there may be certain times of the day when visiting is better. For many, mornings or early afternoons are preferable when compared to evenings, as the person might feel more tired or experience sundowning – a state of confusion that often occurs later in the day.
It’s better to prepare when planning to spend time with your loved one. Think about what type of activities might be enjoyable, ask for suggestions and remember to pay attention when interacting. If your loved one seems tired, anxious or not interested in the activity, you might want to try something else or reschedule your visit for another day.
Bring in a photo album and take the opportunity to spark past memories that might still be accessible. You may be surprised at the reminiscences that are triggered. Encourage your loved one to recall stories from earlier days and be a good listener. Ask questions but don’t focus on any details that may be a struggle to remember.
The power of touch goes a long way to make us feel connected to each other. If loved ones are unable to communicate verbally, this is an especially compassionate and meaningful way to let them know they are loved and cared about. Try a hand or foot massage with warm lotion, a manicure with their favorite color of nail polish or simply sit together and hold hands.
Fresh air and sunshine can make people feel better. Combined with the enjoyment of spending time together, outdoor activities and a pleasant day are a great way to energize and reconnect. Depending on your loved one’s preferences, consider taking a walk, feeding the birds or working together in a garden.
Children have a natural way of brightening up the day. The pleasure they bring can still be provided to a grandparent living with dementia. It may be helpful to plan activities for everyone to share, such as playing a game or working on a puzzle, bringing in their artwork to share or a craft project to create together.
The sights and smells of favorite recipes can also trigger memories from long ago. If at home, or if the community allows, encourage your loved one to help recreate a favorite meal or baked goods. If unable to participate in cooking, perhaps helping to set the table, decorate, or taste-testing can be a few ways to help everyone feel included.
Those living with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia often will eventually require more help or attention than can be provided at home. If your family is considering whether memory care might be the best choice, you can be reassured that quality of life and remaining engaged is a priority of the community.
The staff’s special training in interacting and responding as well as the therapies and programs created will help your loved one feel at home and socially connected.
Communities are also an excellent resource for families and friends who may need guidance or assistance in how to best maintain their relationship with a loved one living with dementia.
If your loved one has dementia and you’re searching for ways to remain connected and ensure quality of life, we hope you found this information useful.
We also invite you to visit one of our Ingleside communities if you’re searching for the right place to live your best life. We believe you’ll enjoy all the benefits that we offer, including:
We’re here to answer any questions that you may have and also invite you to download our complimentary information – Just the Facts: Your Guide to Memory Care.
For information on Ingleside’s Westminster at Lake Ridge senior living community located in Lake Ridge, Virginia, please call (703) 420-7105 with questions or to schedule a personalized tour today.
For information on Ingleside at King Farm senior living community located in Rockville, Maryland, please call (240) 414-8557 with questions or to schedule a personalized tour today.
For information on Ingleside at Rock Creek senior living community located in Washington, DC, please call (202) 846-2651 with questions or to schedule a personalized tour today.