How to Help Your Loved One With Memory Loss Feel Included
Developing a degenerative neurological disease is very isolating. If you have a loved one with Alzheimer’s or any other related dementia, you probably recognize this fact. There comes a point where your loved one is unable to do many of the everyday things they used to be able to do. Your loved one realizes this just as much as you do, and this reduced ability to do certain things can often contribute to behavioral problems or negative emotions in your loved one.
As a family caregiver, trying to help your loved one feel as positive as possible is part of your role, although this task can be a monumental one. However, there are ways to help involve your loved one in some everyday activities that can help them feel more independent and helpful overall. Remember, though, that much of this advice will vary from person to person and to what stage your loved one’s illness has developed. So, feel free to add or modify any of these ideas as it seems appropriate.
Here are some thoughts:
- Laundry: Asking your loved one to help fold clothes or carry laundry to the washwer is a safe way to include them in some tasks. Letting them know that they have been helpful to you can make their day!
- Put away dishes: This is another activity that is relatively low impact, which can also help your loved one feel like they’ve contributed to an effort. Many times, it’s the feeling that they have helped out in some way which can make all of the difference. Everyone body wants to be capable of helping, and when they can show you they can, it can help them find the independence they are likely striving for.
- Have conversations: Depending on what stage your loved one’s condition is in, you can engage in some lighthearted yet meaningful conversations about likes, dislikes, or about earlier memories. This can be very mentally stimulating for your loved one. Allow them to reminisce about past times. If they have a hard time having more in-depth conversations, keep questions simple, requiring only a “yes” or “no” answer. These kinds of questions can still tell you everything you want to know depending on how you phrase, “Are you feeling happy today?” or “Would you like to go outside?”
- Arts and crafts: Simple artistic projects like painting small pictures or making an easy bird feeder are beautiful ways to accomplish something and connect with your loved one. Not only are these tasks cognitively stimulating, they are also meaningful, contributing to your loved one’s mood and sense of capabilities.
- Bring over visitors: Social stimulation is a human necessity. Some individuals enjoy seeing family, especially grandchildren. Perhaps there are ways to schedule in fun visiting time if your loved one likes to have visitors over. This can be a great way to pass the time by and encourage social interaction with other people. Just be attentive to your loved one’s mood, and if they are not feeling up to it, then wait for another time.
If you have any questions, feel free to call ElderCare at Home at 888-285-0093 or visit our website!