Building Meaningful Relationships with Loved Ones with Dementia

Caregivers provide unmatched support to family members living with dementia. According to the AARP, in the U.S. alone, it is estimated that 40 million family caregivers have provided about $470 billion annually in unpaid care to adult relatives. This goes to show just how large the caregiver community is and the outreach it has.

Dealing with a loved one diagnosed with dementia can present some unique challenges to family caregivers. Dementia can affect everyday tasks, communication skills, and even temper and personality, causing major disruption to the daily lives of both caregiver and loved one. As your loved one’s condition progresses, the amount of time you may need to spend assisting them will increase as well. Not only can this affect other aspects of your life such as your job or kids, but it can also be financially draining.

Caring for Someone with Dementia: 5 Tips on Maintaining and Building Relationships

Being able to connect on a meaningful level while caring for someone with dementia is incredibly important. A strong relationship can create tight bonds and even lessen the symptoms of dementia in your loved one. Understanding dementia and learning how to create a meaningful relationship with your loved one is something you have to continue to develop and work for over time.

Here are 5 ways in which you can keep growing your relationship with your loved one with dementia:

  1. Find an activity or hobby you both enjoy: A great way to bond is to find a hobby or activity that both you and your loved one can participate in together. It can be an activity as simple as sitting and knitting or as involved as joining a club. Whatever it might be, make sure it’s something you both look forward to and enjoy.
  2. Be patient and adapt to their level of communication: Communication can become limited as the disease progresses, and your loved one might have a difficult time trying to form ideas or carry on a conversation. Due to this, they might experience social withdrawal as well. It’s important for you to patient and adapt to their level of communication.
  3. Take care of yourself: Although this might not be an obvious tip, actually taking care of yourself, both physically and mentally, can have a big impact on your relationship with your loved one. By practicing self-care you will be able to be your best self, and thus, create a strong and meaningful bond with your loved one.
  4. Non-verbal communication: As communication between you and your loved one changes, you might consider relying on more non-verbal communication cues to engage with them. Understanding dementia and the ways it will affect your ability to interact with them is a huge step in creating a meaningful relationship. A warm hug or hand on the shoulder can be positive examples of non-verbal communication that will mean a lot to your loved one.
  5. Cherish old memories while creating new ones: Being able to reminisce about past events your loved one might remember fondly is a great way to bond. Additionally, don’t just remember “the old days,” but also create new memories right now by spending quality time together regularly. Staying engaged with your loved one and appreciating the relationship you have now can help your bond grow stronger.

Individualized Alzheimer’s and Dementia Care in Tulsa at Saint Simeon’s

At Saint Simeon’s, our nationally-recognized Memory Center offers a safe and inviting home-like setting for individuals living with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementia. Residents enjoy a secure environment, individualized care plans, and daily assistance from a team specifically trained in Alzheimer’s and dementia care. Contact us today to learn more about high-quality memory care in Tulsa in our vibrant senior living community.

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