Helping Loved Ones with Dementia Feel More Included
Dementia can be a difficult diagnosis to cope with. Seniors may have really good days where they’re alert and present, and then some days where they’re more confused and disconnected. As a family member, there are plenty of ways that you can help to keep them engaged. Over time, your loved one may struggle to do some of the things they used to do, but you can help them to feel useful and valued.
At family gatherings, find activities where they can do something they enjoy and be successful. Maybe that means setting the table with favorite dishware, preparing various aspects of the meal or making a side dish, or organizing books or magazines while straightening up. If they have trouble keeping up with games, find something where you can play in teams or a game that has fewer steps to remember.
Take time to listen to their stories and ask questions. It may not be 100 percent on topic, but hear what they have to say. You may be surprised at what you can learn. Individuals with dementia are often better at recalling the past than things that happened recently. Letting them share can make them feel they have something to contribute.
You can also sing favorite songs or look through pictures together. Reminiscing can be a great way to strengthen your bond. Take new pictures to add to their photo album as well and write down who is in the picture, where it was taken, and what you were doing. Going to familiar places that they recognize can also make them feel more comfortable and included. It provides something that they can connect with.
It can be fun to engage in activities suited for the whole family too. Pick out some craft projects that seniors and grandchildren alike will enjoy. Everyone can work together to make something memorable. If your loved one knows how to knit or crochet, let them teach younger generations and pass along the tradition. There are plenty of other activities they can share in too.
Keeping a routine can be valuable as well. When you follow a similar structure to each day, your loved one comes to know what to expect. This can help reduce confusion and agitation. They’re better able to transition between activities and feel more in control of what’s going on.
One important thing to keep in mind is to be flexible. Not everything will always go according to plan. Adjust accordingly and take things one step at a time. Remain calm and simply enjoy the time you get to spend together, no matter what you may be doing. Everyone has their good and bad days, so go with the flow and think about what would be most comforting and enjoyable for your loved one.
If you can’t spend as much time as you’d like with your aging parent, ensure that they have the support they need by hiring an in-home caregiver. A caregiver can provide not only companionship, but also assist with day-to-day activities such as cleaning, organizing, planning, and meal preparation. You can take comfort knowing that your loved one can overcome some of the challenges of dementia and continue aging in place with the support of a trained and qualified caregiver from Always Best Care. Contact us today at (855) 470-2273 to schedule a free consultation.