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July 11, 2019  -  Memory Care

Dementia Support: 5 Ways to Build Meaningful Relationships

If you are a caregiver to a loved one in your family, you’re not alone. Some 34 million Americans are providing care and support to an aging loved one. That means countless hours of emotional support, providing transportation, assisting with medications, doing household chores and supporting healthcare duties. When a large portion of your time is spent being a caregiver, it’s easy to lose the relationship you once had with your loved one. There is a unique challenge that comes with being a caregiver and an adult child.

Additionally, the common complications of dementia include personality changes, difficulty communicating, memory loss, mood swings and frustration. These issues make it even more difficult to continue building your relationship with your loved one.

So, what can you do? Continue reading for tips on building more meaningful relationships while still providing dementia support for your loved one.

Top 5 Ways to Connect When Caring for Someone With Dementia

It can be disheartening when your loved one no longer recognizes your face or name. They can easily start to feel like a stranger to you, making the burden of caregiver even heavier. But, there are ways you can learn to connect with your loved one. It requires a little extra effort, but the outcome can be deeply rewarding for you and your loved one.

  1. Join a dementia support group – This is a gift that keeps on giving. Not only can you find additional means of support and understanding, but you can gain useful takeaways that will help you further connect with your loved one. Sharing experiences and learning new methods for improving your relationship with your loved one is invaluable.
  2. Discover a shared interest – One of the very best ways to bond with someone is sharing new experiences. Find a hobby or activity that you both will enjoy and can both participate in together. Consider knitting, doing puzzles, listening to music or going for walks. Whatever it is, make sure it makes you both happy.
  3. Alter the way you communicate – When it comes to dementia caregiving, sometimes nonverbal communication is just as important as verbal. A soft touch, warm hug or hand-hold are excellent examples of non-verbal communication practices that will mean a lot to your loved one and help you both feel connected.
  4. Don’t be afraid to talk about the past – While your loved one may be suffering from memory loss, it’s no reason to avoid reminiscing about the past. Create new memories by looking through old photo albums, watching favorite movies or telling stories from the past. Stay engaged in the conversation and see how your loved one reacts.
  5. Practice self-care – While this may seem like odd advice to improve your relationship with your loved one with dementia, it’s extremely important. If you are stressed out, distracted or tired, it will be impossible for you to deeply connect with your loved one. Understanding and navigating dementia is challenging, but by taking care of yourself you will be in a better place to create a strong, meaningful relationship with your loved one when you are together.

Just like all relationships, creating a strong and meaningful bond takes hard work and commitment. Being able to separate caregiving from creating a meaningful relationship is important. A strong relationship can strengthen the bonds you have and even help to combat some of the negative side effects associated with dementia. Continue working on it and go easy on yourself. You’re doing the best you can.

An Ongoing Commitment to Care and Support at Peregrine Senior Living

Sometimes the best thing you can do is find support in the caregiver role so you can focus on developing a deeper relationship with your loved one. Peregrine Senior Living can help. Our unparalleled level of memory care is unlike any other senior living community. Our memory care residents experience enrichment through The Peregrine Way. We encourage you to learn more about our philosophy and decide if our community is a good fit for your loved one.

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