Watching a loved one struggle with memory loss is devastating, but a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s or a related dementia doesn’t have to mean the end of your relationship. With a little compassion and creativity, you and your loved one can maintain a close and loving bond. Consider the following suggestions from New Hampshire Home Care Assistance.
Avoid Unnecessary Arguments
It may be tempting to correct your loved one when he or she makes a factual mistake or repeats the same story over and over, but doing so can damage your relationship. Nobody likes to be made to feel foolish. Frequent corrections or criticisms may cause your loved one to shut down and stop communicating with you.
Talk About the Distant Past
People in the early stages of dementia have trouble forming new memories, but older memories usually remain intact. Ask your loved one to share memories of his or her childhood. You might also ask your loved one about his or her memory of historical events like the assassination of President Kennedy.
Try Activities That Don’t Require Speech
Some people with memory loss struggle when expressing themselves verbally or have a hard time finding the right word. If your loved one isn’t comfortable talking, suggest an activity the two of you can do together such as gardening, baking, working a simple jigsaw puzzle, or even watching a favorite movie or television program.
Watch Out for Depression
People with memory loss are vulnerable to depression. If your loved one seems unusually withdrawn or loses interest in activities he or she used to enjoy, take him or her to see a psychiatrist or neurologist who specializes in working with older adults. Medication and supportive therapy can work wonders on your loved one’s sense of wellbeing.
Open the Door to Tough Topics
Some people are more comfortable talking about their feelings than others. Tell your loved one that if he or she wants to talk about what is happening, you will listen without passing judgment or offering unrealistically easy answers. Lending a sympathetic ear won’t cure your loved one’s memory loss, but it may improve your relationship.
Being the primary caregiver for a senior loved one with memory loss can be challenging, but with the right support system in place you can ensure your aging parent or relative maintains a high quality of life in the comfort of home. To learn more about dementia and Alzheimer’s care in New Hampshire, reach out to Home Care Assistance at (603) 471-3004 and request a complimentary in-home consultation. We’re here to help.