Alzheimer’s disease, vascular dementia, Lewy body dementia, or another type of dementia are conditions that bring many challenges in the form of memory loss, disorientation, behavioral symptoms, general confusion, etc. You will most probably be aware of these challenges or may have faced them firsthand if you know someone living with Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia. The challenges are difficult to deal with both for the person experiencing them and for loved ones and caregivers to watch. As a caregiver, it’s essential for you to listen and watch which will enable you learn many things from your loved ones who have dementia and experience these difficulties, thus helping you better handle and overcome these hard times.
As your loved one’s disease advances, the search for assistance may shift to assisted living or memory care communities, such as Senior Sanctuary of Anthem in Phoenix- an award-winning senior living in Anthem facility in the region. Our specialized memory care program is designed to meet the unique needs of adults with memory impairment.
Points to remember:
Pay attention to their feelings– Paying attention to and being careful with the feelings of someone with dementia is important since they will very often remember how we made them feel, which often has a lasting impact.
Gentle physical touch is beneficial– Someone with dementia or Alzheimer’s might benefit from gentle physical touch. Holding your beloved’s hand, brushing their hair if they find it to be soothing and giving them a hug will communicate that they’re important and treasured by those around them.
The power of music– Music has power for many of us, and more so for someone with dementia. The memories and nostalgia may come alive upon hearing a favorite song from the past, and your loved one might begin singing along and remember every word, not to mention the fact that music serves as a great distraction, allowing you to more easily help him eat or get him dressed. Music can also cause a withdrawn person to cheer up and begin to tap his foot to the rhythm.
Children can cause the person to perk up– According to research, both children and adults can benefit immensely from intergenerational programs. The benefits for people living with dementia include higher levels of positive engagement when interacting with children, increased cognitive activity, whereas for children benefits include fewer behavioral challenges and improved social development. Therefore, intergenerational interaction appears to serve as a meaningful activity and improve quality of life for both children and older adults living with dementia.
Don’t lose perspective– It’s very easy to lose perspective on what is actually important when you are caring for someone with dementia. You should give your loved one the extra time and space if they are going through a rough patch and displaying some challenging behaviors. Instead of getting upset, just let go of your expectations and your desire for control over the things that will hardly matter in the long run. You need to breathe, let go and place things back in perspective.
Lay down your pride by asking for help since it’s not just those who struggle with memory loss that need help, we all need help at some point in time so learn to ask for help instead of being too proud or stubborn to ask for it.