Techniques to help you connect with a loved one suffering from dementia: part two
Connecting with a person who is living with dementia, sincerely and effectively, is possible and essential. Below is part two of 10 proven techniques to help you achieve this.
- Don’t have high expectations
Dementia is a complex disease. A person suffering from dementia may be more capable and responsive one day, compared to another. When dealing with these changes in behaviour, it would be beneficial to have patience as it can be more confusing for the person suffering from dementia. If you approach your loved one in a calm way, then it will decrease their chances of being distressed. Additionally, if you are realistic about your interactions with them, then it avoids putting pressure on them so you can focus on connecting.
- Introduce animal therapy
The use of animals in therapy is known to reduce feelings of anxiety, depression, and loneliness and stress significantly. Many care homes bring in animals to interact with their residents. Therefore, you can enquire about the possibility of this at your loved ones care home. If you already have a pet, try introducing them to your loved one. Animal therapy offers different stimulation to mundane tasks.
- Remember the five senses
Dementia can frequently be helped by stimulating the five senses: sight, hearing, smell, taste and touch, as it can help people living with dementia to feel more at ease.
For sight, watching anything that is easy to focus on is the best option. Listening to music can trigger their memory, and remembering song lyrics are common. In regards to smells and taste, these can encourage memory gain and enable loved ones to make food-related decisions, if this is something they were once struggling with. Holding hands or hugging your loved one, with their consent, is an essential way to connect. It can make them feel comfortable and safe while connecting with you individually.
- Try outdoor activities
Adventuring outside can not only provide a calming environment but performing outdoor activities can also reduce blood pressure. If you can, try to do some that don’t require a lot of thinking and physical interaction. Botanical gardens are a great example, due to their peaceful setting that won’t cause overstimulation and distress. It also makes a fun day out!
- Try stimulating exercises
Exercising is a great way for people to engage their body and mind. The endorphins that are released during exercise help to clear your head and de-stress you and those with dementia can develop brilliant results. Suitable exercises include dancing, swimming, Tai Chi and walking.