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Dementia's Dance

While spending time with a resident on an outing, she turned to me and said, "thank you. That was wonderful." I was struck by how aware of her joy she was. What we had done was not as important as how it had made her feel and what she was still feeling later because of that experience even though she did not remember that it had happened to her. We often worry about what is going to happen, but we must remember to live in the present when visiting someone with dementia. What is happening in the moment that you are in?


Dealing with dementia can be challenging and overwhelming, both for the person and the family members. It can be difficult to communicate with them and sometimes it may seem like they are not even present in the moment. However, it is crucial to maintain a positive attitude and continue to engage with them in meaningful ways. The goal of this blog post, is to provide some tips and strategies that can help you more effectively interact with your loved ones with dementia, and overall making the experience more enjoyable for both you and them.


Dementia heightens a person's awareness of others in the room, meaning that any emotions brought to the interaction are felt, even if they are being concealed. So, be present and bring positivity to the moment.Stay Calm and Positive: As mentioned, people with dementia are very sensitive to the emotions of those around them. Therefore, it is important to remain calm and positive during interactions. If you are feeling agitated or frustrated, take a deep breath and try to let those emotions go before engaging with your loved one. Take the time to look at the person and show them that you are genuinely interested in spending time with them.


Use Simple Language and Short Sentences: When speaking to people with dementia, it is important to remember that they may have difficulty understanding complex language or long sentences. Therefore, it is crucial to communicate in simple terms and use short sentences. This will help to reduce confusion and frustration and make the interaction more comfortable for everyone involved.


When interacting with people who have dementia, we may feel a need to explain things to make sense of it for them. This is not always necessary. The most important thing to focus on is the humor or beauty of the interaction and the joy it brings you. Focus on Feelings: Instead of trying to explain things to your loved one, focus on their feelings and emotional responses. Pay attention to their facial expressions and body language and respond accordingly. Use humor and laughter to lighten the mood and make the interaction more enjoyable.


Embrace their Reality: People with dementia often have their own reality, which may be different from ours. Instead of trying to correct them, embrace their reality and engage with them in that context. This will help to make the interaction more meaningful and enjoyable for both of you.


Engage in Activities: Finally, it is important to engage in activities that your loved one enjoys. This could be anything from listening to music, to gardening, to playing games. Find ways to connect with them through activities that they enjoy, and use these activities as an opportunity to engage with them in meaningful ways.


Conclusion:


Interacting with people with dementia can be challenging, but it is crucial to remember that they are still human beings with feelings and emotions. By using the tips and strategies outlined in this post, you can engage with your loved one in meaningful ways that make the experience more enjoyable for both of you. Remember to stay calm and positive, use simple language and short sentences, focus on feelings, embrace their reality, and engage in meaningful activities. These are all important steps towards effectively interacting with people with dementia and making the most of your time together.

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