When it’s a family member who is diagnosed with dementia, it affects the entire household. It can be difficult and stressful to look after a loved one with dementia. A difficult and stressful time like this can make you forget not your loved one’s role as a family but also their self-being. They can feel isolated in decision-making as they need help with decision making and problem-solving. But by being aware of this and creating a strong bond, the family can help them feel needed and give them a sense of belonging. This allows them to keep their individuality, improving their well-being.
Dementia can affect skills, function, and independence. Your loved one may have played an essential role within the family, lost loved ones, and lost some of their freedom, taking their confidence with them. Help them regain a sense of purpose in their lives and encourage them to carry on with the smallest of tasks, whether helping you with some gardening, stirring the cake batter, or rearranging the bookcase.
Part of the process of caring for such a loved one is to make them feel loved. This requires several approaches such as:
Ensure They Are Present During Mealtimes
Why not try and think of ways to try and maintain a shared meal with your parents regularly? I’ve spoken to many carers who often get very stressed out and concerned if their elderly parents aren’t enjoying meals and socializing with other people, and this is one of those times where more time spent together can reduce stress, make everyone feel happier, and healthier, and help you quickly spot any health problems that may arise.
Listen to Them Carefully and Honestly
People with dementia may feel like “something is missing” from their life. They may repeat themselves because telling and retelling the same story makes them feel important, valued, and alive. Sometimes they are lonely and want to talk. Try to listen with empathy and understanding, and try not to interrupt or correcting them can be upsetting and embarrassing. No one likes to feel foolish. Relating stories can make them feel interesting and involved and even give them a reason to use their brains. You’ll make them happy and benefit from conversations and stories, too.
Try to Enhance Their Talents
Recognize their skills and passions. Until dementia is further severe, specific abilities can be kept. For instance, it seems that the capacity to sing, dance, or play the piano is preserved deeply inside the brain. Sing songs as a family, watch a show together or ask someone to play for you as you listen. They could still find immense satisfaction in listening to music or admiring others’ performances even when they can no longer perform themselves.
If you are interested in letting your loved one live in a friendly community with team members who can help with the above and much more, feel free to contact us today to book a tour of our senior assisted living services.