As dementia progresses and cognitive decline increases, it becomes difficult for seniors to communicate and connect with the world around them. Sometimes people describe a loved one as an “empty shell” as memory loss gets worse, but the truth is it just requires using new ways to bond and connect. Some days will be better than others, but there are several strategies that can help you stay emotionally connected with your senior loved one who has memory loss.
Look through Old Family Photos
Cognitive decline impacts short-term memory first, so looking through older photos tends to be more effective at sparking memories. After your loved one starts to show a sense of familiarity with the pictures, use those recollections as a basis to provide current updates on some of the people in the photos.
Even with memory loss, your loved one can continue to age in place safely with the help of a home caregiver. There are a variety of age-related health conditions that can make it more challenging for seniors to live independently. However, many of the challenges they face can be easier to address if their families opt for professional senior home care. You can rely on expertly trained caregivers to keep your loved one safe and comfortable while aging in place.
Many people with dementia develop a different sense of humour and tend to prefer slapstick comedy over more subtle humour. Watching funny movies or old sitcoms featuring slapstick humour, such as I Love Lucy, with your loved one can be an enjoyable bonding experience that allows the two of you to share laughs together.
Gardening is an enjoyable pastime for people of all ages, and it can be very therapeutic for seniors with dementia. Research has found activities like gardening that engage the senses invoke positive feelings in people with dementia, and it can help seniors recall happy long-term memories. Try planting bulbs in the fall and annuals in the spring or transplanting small plants into pots.
Many of us have fond memories of helping our parents in the kitchen when we were younger. Many seniors have favourite family recipes they still enjoy making. Bond with your loved one by brushing up on some of those recipes so you can provide a gentle nudge should he or she forget a few ingredients or preparation steps.
Depending on your loved one’s abilities, you might try making simple recipes together, such as Jell-O, salad, or no-bake cookies. Spending time in the kitchen can help seniors with dementia feel more engaged, foster positive emotions, and even stir long-term memories.
Seniors can face a variety of challenges as they age, many of which can be mitigated with the help of professional in-home caregivers who provide high-quality at-home care. Waterloo families trust Home Care Assistance to help their elderly loved ones age in place safely and comfortably.
Work on Jigsaw Puzzles
Doing puzzles together isn’t just an enjoyable bonding experience. Research indicates dementia therapy that includes puzzles and games may slow the progression of the condition by stimulating the brain.
To avoid discouraging your loved one, choose jigsaw puzzles with large pieces or floor puzzles that don’t have many pieces. You can even find jigsaw puzzles designed specifically for seniors with memory loss. These puzzles use age-appropriate nostalgic images and large pieces.
Exercise with Your Loved One
Light exercise, such as going for a casual walk around the block, releases endorphins. These so-called “mood-enhancing chemicals” can boost your parent’s mental perception and concentration, making it easier to have meaningful conversations.
If your senior loved one’s memory loss is due to Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia, compassionate assistance is just a phone call away. Certain age-related conditions can make it more challenging for seniors to age in place safely and comfortably, but Waterloo live-in care experts are available around the clock to help seniors manage their health. Whether your loved one is living with dementia or recovering from a stroke, you can trust the professional live-in caregivers from Home Care Assistance to enhance his or her quality of life. To learn more about our highly trained caregivers, call us at (519) 954-2111.