Ways to connect with your loved one who has Dementia

There are almost 1 million people in the UK who are affected and living with Dementia. With these figures only expected to increase. Dementia can range widely in the severity of the condition, from a slight decrease in memory and cognitive function, to complete inability to express and communicate effectively. However, my reading hopefully suggests that even when dementia is at its most severe, there are ways in which you can increase communication with your loved one. And with hope help improve their, and maybe even your, quality of life. Please review the suggestions shown below for activities that can help reignite your loved one’s communication skills.

Memory Books: When reminiscing with your loved one, one to one and talking fondly of the past, it can be indeed very helpful to record their past experiences in a small diary or photo album. Write down and enter short and stand-out memories of experiences and any relevant photos whenever this is possible. Also include on the pages the names and pictures of any friends and family relatives.

Sensory Boxes: I have wrote before saying that the 5 senses can be extremely effective in helping increase awareness and an ability to recall our past. To do this, find a small box and fill it with items that connect to a theme (such as Christmas) and address as many of our 5 senses as possible. For example, a beach themed box could include a CD of relaxing beach sounds, and a small bag of beach sand and attractive seashells and pebbles to feel and touch, and a piece of seaweed to smell - and maybe even taste if clean. Always try and choose a theme that is likely to promote and present pleasant memories, like an important holiday or special place that you have visited.

Reminiscence Groups: When in a group talking about past experiences is a hugely rewarding experience for anyone that is elderly. However, being able to talk about and share past experiences with others who are living with dementia can also be very rewarding. Also, the ongoing free-flow of conversation within a group setting can help remove some of the pressure of being the only story-teller and so helps you open up. Therefore, try and create a small group of other carers of 4-6 people that can meet you once a week and let the conversation start.

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