If you have a loved one who is dealing with memory loss, dementia, or Alzheimer’s Disease, it can be difficult to know how to connect. You want to find ways to continue to bond, but may not know what to do or how to interact. Even when dealing with memory loss, it‘s still possible for you and your loved one to share some heartfelt connections and bonding moments. Here are some ways to help make that happen.
Learn As Much As You Can
The more you know about what your loved one is experiencing, the easier it will be for you to anticipate what sorts of conversations and activities will be positive, and which will hamper your connection. Especially if your loved one’s memory loss is new, spend some time learning about what their diagnosis means. Focus on what your loved one is feeling, and what they might be worried about. Learn about next steps, and ways you can help. The more knowledge you have about what your loved one is going through, the more comfortable you’ll be interacting with and connecting with them.
The best way to foster connection with anyone is to try and put yourself in their shoes. Try to remember where they’re coming from and what they’re experiencing. Just by practicing empathy, you’ll likely feel a stronger sense of connection.
Empathy plus action leads to compassion, so a key way to connect with your loved one will be to take action. Schedule time for activities you know you and your loved one will both enjoy. Plan ahead, and identify potential problems in advance so that you can take action to make life easier. Try new methods of communication, like songs or activities. If you come up with a way to connect with your loved one, don’t wait – turn your thought into action.
Connection is based on emotion. And while it’s true that a negative emotion is easily shared, sharing positivity can be a heartwarming and life changing experience. While it may be difficult to stay optimistic when trying to connect with a loved one experiencing memory loss, a good attitude on your part can go a long way toward helping your loved one, and yourself, feel more comfortable. Try to avoid getting angry or frustrated if your loved one doesn’t seem to respond to what you’re saying, and remember that they are just doing the best they can.
If you’re looking for a good way to inject some positivity into your interactions, try focusing on humor. Whether you’re telling a simple joke, smiling more often, or coming up with activities that encourage laughter, any lift of the mood will help. There’s no better way to connect with a loved one than by sharing a laugh or a good time.
Caring for those with memory loss can be hard. For more activities for seniors with memory loss, helpful suggestions, and care options available for your loved one at Ebenezer communities, visit our Ebenezer blog page.