“I enjoy the same things I used to…”
While people with dementia forget facts, they can often remember and enjoy many activities including drawing, painting, dancing, yoga, meditation, matching games and even story telling. Activities that engage the minds of people with dementia often give them a sense of meaning and purpose. Family members and CAREgivers can participate in these types of activities to create meaningful engagements with their loved ones.
“I want to make decisions…”
Dignity and self-determination are parallel perceptions. People with dementia need to be heard and feel some sense of autonomy to avoid feeling a loss of dignity. When family and CAREgivers listen to what their loved one has to say frustration and assertive behavior is often reduced, if not eliminated.
“I can do more than you’d think…”
Many are surprised to learn that people in the early stages of dementia are still able to drive cars. Technology like GPS and other apps help them find their way and even remind them where they parked the car. The decision to drive and the decision to stop driving are important. Collaboration between the patient, family members, and medical providers can prove most useful in making these decisions.
“Music is especially enjoyable…”
People in the early or middle stages of dementia often enjoy joining a choir or playing an instrument. But research shows that even in the late stages of dementia music has a specific way of engaging people with dementia. According to Mary Mittelman, DrPH, director of the Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementias Family Support Program “…music stimulates them and they get pleasure out of it. Those ways of communicating that aren’t necessarily verbal can create pleasure for everyone.” Family members and CAREgivers can engage in listening to familiar songs with their loved one or even provide a headset for loved one for personal enjoyment.
“Loud restaurants can be stressful…”
A busy restaurant full of chatter and challenging noises can confuse a person with dementia, and often prevent them from distinguishing and following conversations. Dr. Mittelman encourages families to choose a quiet café over a bustling restaurant so loved ones are less overwhelmed by overstimulation and more likely to feel comfortable and included.
“I want a meaningful life…”
Alzheimer’s does impact daily living and often makes independence challenging. But while people with Alzheimer’s must adjust to limitation, they often maintain a desire for a meaningful everyday life far into the disease. Being involved in programs specially focused on memory loss can give Alzheimer’s patients the opportunity to socialize, attend support groups, stimulate cognitive ability, renewed purpose, and elevate the overall quality of life.
To read the full article from which the above blog is based, click HERE.
To learn more about how OPICA supports adults with memory loss and their families click HERE.
To view all previous blogs, click here.