Love and Dementia
We all know the scary realities of dementia. Or do we? While individuals may face declining abilities because of dementia there are interventions today that can delay or slow down the development of dementia and ensure quality of life. In addition to having the proper medical diagnosis and treatment, the psychological support of a person with dementia can really change the impact of the disease.
And that's really about love and acceptance.
In the early stages of Alzheimer's, individuals may face extreme frustration and fear. One way to minimize the emotional upheaval is to be open to the discussion about the experience, allowing individuals who have been diagnosed to feel free to discuss their concerns and have them validated but not pushed to do so. Another way is to build on the strengths they have including focusing on what they do remember, not what they don't. A third way is to explore and help them to maintain the things they love to do.
It is often easier for someone who has dementia to spend enjoyable time with someone who is a trusted companion. Because family members have a long-term history with the individual, they often are tied to what was rather than what is. They often focus on the sadness and the loss of the individual's capacities and have difficulty helping their loved one find joy moving forward. This can be an added source of increased frustration and fear on the part of the person who has a diagnosis of dementia.
Seniors Helping Seniors providers focus on bringing joy to each moment. "We believe that each person, whatever diagnosis they are facing, can enjoy their lives and that our role is to help them find that joy through the activities they are involved in," said Judy Loubier.
For one family, the provider who worked with Judy was able to support both the woman with Alzheimer's as well as her daughter. The provider would bring the woman to the day program where she could engage in numerous activities specifically geared to her capabilities. Meanwhile the daughter could continue with her career during the day.
"As a Physical Therapist, who has worked with Alzheimer's patients, I brainstorm with our receivers and their families about appropriate activities, which will add meaning and joy to their life and will help maximize each individual’s ability to age in place," said Judy.
It is important for the family and the provider to be on the same team, supporting the loved one. What is optimal is that through communication, family members and Seniors Helping Seniors providers develop a plan that realistically supports the individual with the goal of maintaining independence. This plan generally incorporates fun, interactive events with calm, familiar situations and both day-to-day tasks and long-term goals. Seniors Helping Seniors at-home services can support all members of the family retain a sense of connection and love during a difficult time.