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Showing Your Love: How Little Things Can Mean a Lot for Those Living with Alzheimer’s or Dementia

Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease bring a lot of changes and confusion both for those diagnosed and for their family caregivers. While adjusting to this new reality, caregivers may feel disconnected from  their loved one experiencing memory issues. There are many small steps you can take to show your love during this time of uncertainty. Here are three tips for creating a comfortable and loving atmosphere while you both come to terms with the changes that dementia and Alzheimer’s disease bring.

Spend Time Together

Routine is incredibly important for someone suffering from memory issues and can slow the advancement of their memory impairment. 

Make spending regular time together a key part of your routine, whether they are in a senior living care facility or living with family. Frequent, short visits  can be much more valuable than infrequent long ones. 

During your visits, don’t shy away from the quiet moments together. Physically being together is more important than carrying a conversation. Loved ones diagnosed with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease may not remember what was discussed or what activity you did together, but they will remember how they felt during your visit. Prioritize their comfort level, even if that means sitting in silence and enjoying a cup of tea together.

Listen Closely

Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease can cause surprising personality changes or significantly impact personal interests. 

It may feel like you’re relearning who your loved one is and redefining your relationship with them. Take this opportunity to really listen to what they may be interested in and remember those topics for future conversations. 

If you are struggling to find ways to connect with your loved one, think about the five senses: touch, sight, smell, taste, and hearing. Your attention to detail during your visits can make all the difference. 

When planning your next visit, consider the following:

  • Is there a familiar fragrance they may associate with home or family? 
  • Do they respond positively to gentle touch, for example through handholding, massage, or manicure? 
  • Is there a genre of music that they enjoy hearing?
  • Do they crave a specific meal or treat regularly?
  • Are they interested in looking at pictures of loved ones or favorite places they’ve visited?

Focus on What’s Important

Focusing on what really matters to those living with dementia or Alzheimer’s Disease is the number one way to show them that you love them. Make sure they know they are loved unconditionally in whatever way they are comfortable receiving. Given the upheaval of their changing mind and changing world, even the smallest efforts you make to engage with them, bring them joy, or just spend time with them will remind them that they are loved.

Willow River is Here to Help

If you are ready to speak to a professional, Willow River can help answer your questions and provide the resources you’re looking for. Call Willow River Senior Living at 888-546-1886 to start the conversation today.