Interacting Meaningfully with Those with Dementia

A recent article in the Huffington Post discusses how caregivers, family, and friends can create meaningful moments with loved ones with dementia (http://huff.to/kiL8D1). It’s easy for unmet expectations to overshadow life  and to focus on the losses dementia brings:  what was, and what no longer will be. 

But it is possible to have meaningful interactions with those with dementia. Creating memories “within the moment” becomes our goal. Focus on simple interactions: manicures, household tasks, lunches, listening to music, watching favorite television shows, looking through or creating photo albums, reading books, reminiscing about favorite memories, taking walks, visiting or calling friends, gardening. Engage in activities that create moments of pleasure for your loved one in small islands of time. Silence can also be a gift that draws us together if we can learn to enjoy the beauty of “being” with one another.

People sometimes asked me why I engaged in activities with my mother when she had Alzheimer’s and wouldn’t remember what we’d done or that we’d spent time together. Wasn’t I wasting my time? I believe I was investing those with my mother — sowing countless moments into her life as we paged through picture books, peeled boiled eggs together, or as I sat and rubbed lotion into her arms.

Every moment was a treasure. I wouldn’t take back a single second.

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