Healthy Roles and Relationships: Connecting with Your Loved One with Dementia

When a loved one is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia, it can be hard to know how to have a healthy relationship. Between communication and connecting with your loved one, it can become difficult to either be on the same page or maintain the close relationship you had before. Fortunately, with a few changes, it can be easier to connect with your loved one with dementia. “Those with dementia may have a more difficult time communicating how they are feeling, what they are thinking and finding the words to say what they want to tell you,” says Jimmie Fay Griffin, Executive Director at YourLife™ of Tallahassee, a Memory Care Assisted Living community in Tallahassee, Florida. “Various changes can also make it difficult, from behavioral and physical changes to moods. Knowing how to connect with your loved one can help to minimize these symptoms while helping your loved one to feel better understood and cared for.”

How to Connect with Your Loved One with Dementia

Connections with loved ones with dementia can continue being rich and fulfilling no matter how your relationship changes. Because this change is inevitable, preparing for it ahead of time while becoming knowledgeable about how to better connect can help your relationship to thrive. Everyday Health offers a number of ways to connect with someone with Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia. Try some of them out with your loved one to see if it helps improve your relationship.

  • Ask questions. While this can depend on what stage your loved one is in, it can help both of you to be on the same page if you ask questions. If your loved one is in the early stages of dementia, ask how they are feeling, ask them questions about the disease or their form of memory loss. It can also help to plan ahead for the future at this point as they are likely to be able to state exactly the type of care they’d like to receive. If your loved one is in the later stages of dementia, keep questions to a simple yes or no style in order to lessen the likelihood they become confused.
  • Find activities to participate in. Your loved one with dementia is likely able to do some of the same things they used to love to do in their younger years. Reminisce over family photos, decorate cookies together, go for a walk through nature or watch some of their favorite movies. This can help to awaken their senses and create a bonding moment for the two of you.
  • Don’t be afraid to adapt the rules. If you think game nights won't be possible now that your loved one has dementia, think again. You might be surprised to know that many caregivers adapt the rules of the game subtly to make it more enjoyable for their loved one to play, making the night run smoothly and your loved one’s happiness to greatly increase.
  • Be attentive. Engage in activities alongside your loved one. Be sure to notice their moods. If they are getting agitated, perhaps redirect the conversation. If they seem upset, hold their hand and talk to them about their feelings. These little things can help to make your loved one feel like their feelings matter and they are being heard and seen for who they are in that moment.

For more information about how to better connect with your loved one, or to learn about how YourLife of Tallahassee can help support you, give us a call today at 850-250-5671.

Inspired ● Engaged ● Fulfilled

If someone you love is living with memory loss, you want the very best for them. You’ll find it at YourLife™ of Tallahassee. Because Memory Care is all that we do, we have the unique ability to focus all our energy, attention and resources into creating an environment that caters to each resident’s needs, preferences and abilities while providing unequaled peace of mind and support for families. We see each resident as an individual because we understand that each resident has their own story. Using this idea, we develop personally inspired care plans that value and support each person’s independence while creating beautiful days. No matter how much care they need, our team of attentive, caring YourLife Personal Care Specialists can provide assistance with all activities of daily living while providing reminders, guidance, support and cues. Even better, residents and their families experience true peace of mind knowing that expert care is on site 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Our personal touch doesn’t stop at our care. In fact, it’s only just the beginning. We create days that leave residents feeling Inspired. Engaged. Fulfilled through our signature programming, YourStory. With individual experiences centered around each resident, engaging outings, services and amenities, activities, dining and more, we create opportunities to learn and pursue new endeavors. At YourLife of Tallahassee, everything was designed for you, but it is defined by you, creating a lifestyle that makes every day a joy. Contact us to learn more! Call us at 850-250-5671 for more information or to schedule a personal visit today.