We understand that taking care of loved ones with dementia is not an easy task. As your loved ones may experience bouts of aggression, memory loss, and other difficulties on a daily basis, these situations can potentially result in the breakdown of the relationship between you and your loved ones. Of course, this should be avoided at all costs, and while it may seem tough at times, it’s possible to build on the communication skills between the two of you, resulting in closer bonds and more personal connections being formed. To find out how to maintain and establish a meaningful relationship with loved ones with dementia, continue reading.
Find a Mutual Activity or Hobby
Participating in recreational activity is by far one of the best ways to strike up conversations and get to know other people better. If you’re a caretaker and looking to develop a closer relationship with your loved ones, try finding a hobby or activity you both take delight in. It doesn’t even have to be something complex. A simple activity at home such as cooking and knitting can provide wonderful opportunities for both you and your loved ones to unwind and have meaningful conversations.
This is the number one rule when it comes to taking care of loved ones with dementia. It’s important to know that loved ones with memory loss can find it a great challenge to communicate their needs, so we should empathize with them and be patient. If possible, give your loved ones ample space and time to be independent and express their feelings without rushing them. You can also try adopting their level of communication to show them that they’re in a safe and non-judgemental environment.
Show Them Kindness and Empathy
At times, we do not have to use words to show them that we care for their health and well-being. During situations when your loved ones are frustrated, confused, and anxious, calm them down and reassure them by giving a warm hug or placing your hand on their shoulders. These simple gestures can mean a lot to your loved ones as they make them feel understood and appreciated.
Create New Memories
Loved ones with dementia have a high chance of experiencing memory loss, and this can cause them to forget familiar faces, names, and places. This means that old memories can be lost. However, there’s no stopping you to create new memories with your loved ones. Remind yourself that any opportunities to interact with your loved ones should be cherished. With this in mind, you’ll soon find yourself appreciating the relationship between you and your loved ones even more, and you’ll stay engaged throughout the sessions.
Don’t Forget About Yourself
Last but not least, even though your main responsibility is to supervise your loved ones, you should not forget to put yourself first and prioritize on your own mental health. If you find yourself suffering from burnout and your physical health is negatively impacted, this is a sign for you to take a break. Some retirement communities like Discovery Village At The West End provide respite care, where caregivers like yourself can relax and practice some self-care.