Helping Loved Ones With Dementia Feel More Included
One of saddest elements of dementia is the changes in behavior it causes. Past interests or hobbies that used to bring them so much joy can become of little interest to them overnight.
While as a family member or friend this can be hard to digest, it’s important to not let your loved one retreat into their shell, as this can quickly lead to depression.
In fact, it’s estimated that up to half of the people living with one of the most common forms of dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, suffer from feelings of isolation and anxiety.
That doesn’t mean, however, that people living with dementia can’t live a happy and fulfilled life. On quite the contrary, with a few changes in our own behavior, we can make sure seniors in home care Manhattan Beach CA go to bed with a smile on their face.
Speak to Your Loved One Directly
Old age brings with it a few hearing problems, so it’s always best, if possible, to speak to seniors one-on-one. This will give them the added benefit of being able to lip read, which makes it easier for them to match the sounds coming out of your mouth.
Use Body Eye and Body Contact
Research has shown that maintaining eye contact while communicating can help to reassure someone living with dementia. It’s also advisable to use body contact, such as a gentle rub of the hand, to make your loved one feel even more relaxed in your company.
Get Used to Their Behaviour
As dementia spreads to other parts of the brain, you may find your loved one’s behavior continues to change. Some example include:
Aggression – If they suddenly start to become more aggressive or agitated in your company for no apparent reason, make sure you learn to give them ten minutes to cool down while you make them a cup of tea.
Confusion – If they start to lose track of what they’re saying mid-sentence, don’t try to correct them. Give them time to regain their train of thought, and if they begin talking about something completely off-topic, do your best to go along with it to avoid confusing them.
Voices – One other common side effect of dementia is hearing voices in your head. To someone living with dementia, these voices are very real, so it’s never best to try and claim they aren’t happening. Instead, try to distract your loved one through conversation, an activity, or even with food.
Try Multisensory activities
Activities that engage multiple senses at the same time, such as cooking, gardening, or painting, have been shown to improve the general mood and behavior of those living with dementia.
It’s also a good idea to get your loved one involved in carrying out chores around the house. Whether you give them a duster to clean the work surfaces or ask them to dry the dishes while you wash up, carrying out these sorts of everyday activities will help to give your loved one a feeling of self-worth.