You and your loved one should stay active. You can use this active time as an opportunity to bond. Take a walk – in your backyard, in the park, or around the neighborhood. Staying active will help ease the boredom, depression, and anxiety your loved one is feeling. Just make sure you know his or her physical capabilities and limitations. Likewise, keep a close eye on your loved one so he or she won’t walk away from you and wander around.
Even if your loved one may not completely understand what you are saying, do not stop communicating with him or her. Tell stories, share your experiences, or recall the good old days.
If you want to help your loved one understand you, adjust your speech pace, and break your sentences into shorter ones or in phrases. Tell one story at a time. Also, accentuate your stories with a lot of gestures and maintain eye contact while talking to your loved ones.
Encourage Hobbies and Other Activities
A loved one with dementia deserves to continue the life he or she once lived, albeit with some adjustments. Find some hobbies and activities that the two of you can do together. For example, you can read him or her a story once a week. You can also find a group for people with dementia. These groups often have activities, mostly those that cater to their members’ skills, strengths, and interests. Allowing your loved one to connect with other people is a good way of helping preserve his or her self-identity.
Seek for and Accept Support
No matter how many times you say, “I can do this!”, you should never hesitate to ask for support. Caring for a loved one with dementia is emotionally and physically demanding. There will be times when you’ll feel that it has taken over your life. Do not let these challenges and struggles get the best of you. Ask for help – or find support. Numerous support groups are available on and offline. Talk to family members and friends, and always find time for yourself – so you can recharge, relax, and distress.
Caring for a loved one with dementia may be demanding, but it’s also rewarding. The challenges are easy to overcome if you follow the tips mentioned above.
About the Author
What to Do If Your Loved One Has Dementia — With Seniors In Mind is written by Jane Rohde for www.withseniorsinmind.org