Introduce the topic of “dementia” at your next summer party and you’ll find the mood quickly turns from happy to heavy-hearted. For most of us, negative experiences are all that we have read, and perhaps have experienced, with this disease. And since there is still not yet a cure, it’s only natural that an Alzheimer’s medical diagnosis in a family member creates an array of concerns.
What isn’t as often mentioned – if at all – are the bright spots of dementia. Actually, studies have shown that as few as 25% of people with mild or moderate dementia self-describe their lives as negative. According to Dr. Peter Rabins, author of “The 36-Hour Day” in which the study is highlighted, and a professor at the University of Maryland, “I’ve seen that you can be a wonderful grandparent and not remember the name of the grandchild you adore. You can be with people you love and enjoy them, even if you’re not following the whole conversation.”
It can help to remember that regardless of the outward changes seen in people with Alzheimer’s or dementia, they are still the same person inside with many of the same characteristics and feelings as always. They appreciate being in a relationship with other people, find peace of mind in familiar surroundings, and enjoy meaningful, purposeful activities. It’s a matter of taking the time to better understand the person and dedicating quality time to attempting to engage in hobbies and interests that he or she enjoys.
There are a number of ways one can help foster wellbeing and a positive outlook on life for a family member with Alzheimer’s or dementia, even as the condition progresses. Helping a loved one with socialization is one of our top recommendations. Many relatives are fearful and uncomfortable around their loved one with dementia, and for that reason, tend to cut back on visits or even just abandon them altogether. It’s essential to seek out ways to help your loved one remain socially connected. Continue to visit, and hire the services of a professional in-home caregiver, such as Home Matters provides, to fill in the gaps.
Call us for more ideas or to discuss additional ways to help a family member with dementia improve total wellbeing. Our professionally trained Alzheimer’s and dementia care team is available to provide reliable respite services, allowing members of the family necessary time away to rest and refresh, knowing their family member is in the absolute best of care.