One of the hardest things about dementia is feeling like you no longer know the person afflicted with the disease, even if you’ve known them your whole life. Not only is their memory impaired, but behavioral and personality changes are also a common symptom of the disease. So how can you maintain a meaningful relationship with them while they go through this?
- Use Nonverbal Communication
This doesn’t mean sign language, it means universal body language and indications of what you’re trying to say. One of the many unfortunate effects of dementia is that the person suffering from it often loses some or all of their language skills, so you may have to resort to nonverbal communication in order get your meaning across to them and to understand what they’re trying to tell you.
And don’t underestimate the power of touch. Dementia can be a very isolating experience, but by simply laying your hand on theirs, you can let them know that you’re there to help support them and that they are not, in fact, alone.
- Speak in a Quiet, Relaxing Tone
Another common symptom of dementia is heightened anxiety, which can be caused by a number of things, including increased confusion and an inability to communicate. When that happens, it’s easy to get frustrated and lose your temper, but that only makes things worse. It’s important to remain calm and speak in a low, quiet voice that promotes relaxation, rather than more anxiety.
- Have Patience
We know this is easier said than done, but it is of the utmost importance in making sure your loved one feels safe and secure. There will be good times, but there will also be tough times, and in the tough times it’s important to remember that they’re struggling, too. What they’re experiencing is confusing and scary and it’s important for you to understand that and be as patient as you can. Together, you can work through it.
- Find Activities They Enjoy
Doing activities together is always a great bonding experience, so try to think of activities your loved one has always enjoyed. If it’s something they can no longer do themselves (such as knitting or quilting), do it with them and find a way to make them a part of the process. Ask for their help picking out a pattern and colors, then work on the project in front of them while asking them about techniques and favorite projects they worked on.
- Join a Dementia Support Group
It’s always a good idea to talk about these things with other people who have had similar experiences. No matter how much you will always love the person with dementia, dealing with the disease is never easy, but it can help to talk to other people who have been through the same thing. In addition to providing a sense of community and understanding, they can also give tips and tricks for dealing with dementia that you may not have thought about.
Here at Stillwater Senior Living, we treat our residents like family. Our apartments include studio, one bedroom, and two bedroom suites, and we are pet friendly. They are designed with security features, maximum accessibility, and include walk-out patois with a full range of amenities for the entire family.
CONTACT US today for more information and a tour of our beautiful state-of-the-art community.