How You Can Build A Meaningful Relationship With A Loved One Who Has Dementia Part 1
Dementia causes memory loss and a change in how people interact. Parents who have dementia can still lead a meaningful life, it’s just done differently and you can still enjoy time with your parents if they have dementia. Approximately a year before the death of Nancy Kriseman’s mother Doris, they sat outside in a garden at her mother’s skilled nursing facility. Here, they spent some time together. Although the way they spent their time had greatly changed due to the diminished abilities of Nancy’s mother Doris, they still had a great visit. Doris was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s at the age of 71. Doris had always enjoyed going for walks. Many years prior the mother and daughter would frequently stroll around a pond that was nearby. They would pack a picnic lunch and enjoy watching the butterflies as they would alight on flowers and the dragonflies that would hover over the pond. Now that Doris was further along in the disease, she could no longer pack picnic lunches, however, she still loved the fresh air and the greenery. Nancy missed how she and her mother used to connect, however, they still had a meaningful relationship. Doris could still listen and enjoy the music that reminded Nancy of earlier times when she and her mother would dance to Tony Bennett songs and Judy Garland songs.
How A Lack Of Understanding Affects Visitors
Many people hesitate visiting someone who has Alzheimer’s. They hesitate because they don’t know what they should say or do. They often are confused about how much the person really understands. In her book, “Meaningful Connections: ” “The Positive Ways To Be Together- When A Loved One Has Dementia”. As a geriatric clinical social worker and the owner of her own company, Geriatric Consulting Services located in Atlanta, Georgia, Nancy wrote the book herself. Many haven’t any understanding of the Dementia patient. They put them all into the same category which is wrong. Their lack of understanding keeps them from understanding that there are different levels and there are some things that the patient can understand. Once potential visitors understand what the patient can and can’t do, they can find a way to connect. Can the person still read a poem or a newspaper? Are they jumbling words? Once you have the key, you can then understand what they can and can’t do and work from there. Nancy’s mother moved her way through different stages of the disease in her 17 years after her diagnosis. As her mother lost one ability or another, Nancy would adjust how she interacted with her mother. It takes great patience and planning to understand and work with a dementia patient. It’s only natural to want to continue in the same familiar patterns, but this isn’t possible. You’ll have to find new ways to connect. Some spouses nearly give up. They can’t relate any longer. Nancy works to help them find a new way to connect and communicate.
Should you have a loved one that needs the proper attention, or have any questions about care, we at Assisting Hands are here to help; call or contact us immediately to help your loved ones today. click here for the second issue of this article.