Appreciating the Present Thursday, January 13, 2022 Memory care often involves quite a bit of planning and thinking ahead. It is not uncommon for caretakers and family members to feel overwhelmed by all of the moving parts, but taking the time to appreciate the present can make all of the difference – for you, for your loved one, and for your entire family. Ground Yourself In the Moment The uncertainty of the future can feel overwhelming when caring for a family member with memory issues. The reality of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia is that time can be limited to ask questions and share stories. Take advantage of the time you have together by being fully tuned in to the present moment. Practice grounding yourself in the moment by using your senses to focus on your immediate surroundings: what do you hear, what do you smell, what do you feel, what do you see? There will always be something new on the horizon, but practicing your ability to focus on the present will allow you to fully enjoy your time with your loved one and strengthen your relationship over time. Practice Staying Present Together Alzheimer’s disease and dementia often progress with time, creating changes within your relationship or even altering your loved one’s personality. Individuals who have memory issues can experience confusion, anger, and/or depression. To combat uncertainty, focus on prioritizing your relationship by spending time together and putting emphasis on enjoying the small things. Creating an environment and atmosphere of comfort and safety is of utmost importance when caring for a loved one with memory challenges. Sharing a favorite meal, looking at familiar photographs, or even just the act of watching tv together can have a big impact on boosting their mood. In those instances, focus on your loved one’s current emotional state and enjoy the present moment. Encourage Family to Focus on the Now When planning a group visit, encourage your family to focus on the now and make the most of their time together. Your loved one may not remember everyone’s names or what you talked about during the visit, but they might remember how they felt happy or content with their family around. Visiting with a large group of people might be distracting, but individual family members can help your loved one focus on the here and now with physical touch or a change of scenery. Hold your loved one’s hand while having a one-on-one conversation to keep them engaged with the moment or bring them to a quieter area where they can rest their eyes and ears if they’re feeling over-stimulated. These techniques will not only help your loved one focus on the present, but will also remind your entire family to prioritize appreciating the here and now. Willow River is Here to Help At Willow River, we understand the challenges that Alzheimer’s and dementia can bring. If you have questions or need help, Willow River has the answers and resources you need. Call Willow River Senior Living at 888-546-1886 to start the conversation today.