As a spouse, adult child, loved one or friend of someone who is living with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, it can be emotionally challenging to maintain a strong and meaningful relationship with them.
At Sinceri Senior Living, we understand the challenges. Here are a few pointers from our experienced memory care team that may help you overcome them.
10 tips for maintaining a strong relationship with someone who is living with dementia
#1: Educate yourself
Understanding dementia is the first step. Learn about the different types of dementia, the stages, symptoms, and the progression of the condition. This knowledge will help you anticipate changes in behavior and communication, making it easier to adapt and provide appropriate support.
#2: Patience is key
As dementia progresses, your loved one may experience memory loss, confusion, mood swings, and personality changes. Patience is crucial in these situations. Remember that it’s the condition causing these behaviors, not the person. Be patient when repeating information and offering reassurance, even if you’ve had the same conversation multiple times recently.
#3: Maintain a routine
People living with dementia often find comfort in routine. Establishing a daily schedule can help reduce anxiety and confusion. Include regular meals, exercise, and rest in the routine. Familiarity with a structured day can provide a sense of security for them.
#4: Practice effective communication
Communication can be challenging as dementia progresses, you can use a few strategies to maintain effective interaction. Speak slowly and clearly, use simple sentences, and maintain eye contact. Be an active listener, giving your loved one time to express themselves without interruption. Nonverbal cues like touch, smiles, and gestures can also convey love and support.
#5: Be flexible
Flexibility is essential when dealing with dementia. Accept that the person you knew may change over time, and their capabilities may diminish. Adapt your expectations and be open to finding new ways to connect and enjoy each other’s company.
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#6: Cherish moments of clarity
People living with dementia may have moments of clarity in which their memory briefly returns. Cherish these moments and use them to connect emotionally. Share stories, listen to their experiences, and engage in activities that bring joy and evoke positive memories.
#7: Seek support
Caring for someone with dementia can be emotionally and physically draining. Don’t hesitate to seek support from friends, family, or support groups. Sharing your experiences with others who understand the challenges can provide valuable emotional support and practical advice.
#8: Practice self-care
Looking after yourself is essential when caring for someone with dementia. Ensure you have time for relaxation and activities you enjoy. Consider respite care to give yourself a break when needed. A well-rested and emotionally stable caregiver can provide better support.
#9: Safety first
As dementia progresses, your loved one may become more vulnerable to accidents and wandering. Take measures to ensure their safety, such as securing the home, installing alarms, and providing supervision when necessary.
#10: Seek professional care
There may come a point when professional care becomes necessary. Discuss the options with healthcare professionals and explore places specializing in dementia care. This decision is never easy, but it may be the best option for both you and your loved one.
Although maintaining a strong relationship with someone who has dementia is a challenge, it’s possible with the right strategies and a heart full of love and patience. By educating yourself, practicing effective communication, and providing a supportive environment, you can navigate the complexities of dementia while preserving the connection you share with your loved one.
Remember, you are not alone on this journey, and seeking help and support is a sign of strength, not weakness. Together, you can create moments of joy and cherish the love that dementia cannot erase.
About memory care communities for individuals living with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia
Memory care communities are specialized senior living communities that provide compassionate dementia care that benefits both its residents and their families. Within a supportive memory care community, individuals living with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia can experience enhanced well-being and a higher quality of life. Families gain the peace of mind of knowing their loved ones are in capable hands. If a loved one is facing the challenges of Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, a memory care community can be a valuable and supportive resource on this journey.
To learn more about memory care, check out our free ebook, Just the Facts: Your Guide to Memory Care. See Sinceri Senior Living’s Meaningful Moments® memory care program for yourself – schedule a tour at a community near you.