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17 May 2018

How do you cope with a loved one who has Alzheimer's or dementia?


Topics: Senior Health, Alzheimers, Dementia

The variety of changes our loved ones who are living with Alzheimer’s and dementia experience can be extremely difficult, however in many cases they are not alone in the difficulties that face them.

The sooner family and friends find effective ways to alter and be mindful of their interactions around/with their love ones, the more positive an impact it will help create for everyone.


Always have it in mind your loved ones respond better to your body language, facial expressions than the spoken words

Most have heard just how important non-verbal communication is and how our body language plays a large part in projecting both positive and negative tones and expressions.

Understanding the role such plays, always keep in mind to make more eye contact with your loved one, smile and hold their hands to show compassion and care in a way they will understand. All those examples go a long way in helping positive communication.


Don't accept the temptation of correcting them

Pay attention to what they have to say.

Never correct or contradict them. Instead of engaging or igniting a possible argument, look inwardly and come up with another option of agreement on what they’ve said.

If, for example, your loved one wants an ice cream during the night, instead of emphatically denying by saying no, try suggesting alternatives that perhaps work better and also encourages decision-making on their part.


Accept the feelings and emotions of your loved ones

Depending on the stage of dementia, our loved one may have lost the ability to reason.
The more you try to make them understand they’re wrong, it could lead to anger and/or sadness as they may believe you’re not giving them the necessary attention. 
Always do your best to make them understand you see the reasons they are upset and offer help where necessary.


Evoke positive feelings and memories by using things with which they are familiar

It’s always helpful to make use of old songs, scents and items when around our loved ones with dementia.

The perfumes they use to wear may never be forgotten or how about the music danced to in their teenage years.

Ultimately the idea is to surround them with and utilize things that help evoke positive feelings and memories, hoping to add a level of comfort to their lives.


Engage them in an old but favourite hobby, activity or interest

You can try playing a game they love, introduce a topic you know they enjoy speaking about in hopes of encourage healthy conversation or play their favorite track and dance to it together.

Give them space and allow them to enjoy their own thoughts as well. More often than not we tend to remember things that happened a long time ago.

Lastly, remember your loved ones do not have to be defined by the condition they have, as who you are is different than what you have.

Living with a condition that requires attention and care and utilizing the above helpful ideas and strategies can help not only your loved one but all those who care for and about them as well.