Take time this holiday season to sit and appreciate being with your loved one with memory loss. Reminisce about days and Christmas’ past and hold hands, while snuggling on the couch in front of the fireplace. Decorate the tree or cookies together like our team and residents did at Azura Memory Care of Beloit.
This time of year, we often get caught up in the wondering what to give our loved ones, we hope our presents will spark a memory or bring them back from the clutches of dementia, if only for a few moments. However, it is not the item that we give, but rather how we approach and communicate with our loved one’s that is the key.
Below are few tips and techniques that are taught to all Azura Memory Care Team Members through our MOSAIC Connections Training:
- Those with dementia have a limited visual field, imagine wearing a scuba mask and as the disease progresses the view shrinks inward. Therefore, approach from the front and get below their eye level or sit at a 90 degree angle and put your face in their line of vision.
- Use their name or nickname to catch their attention and maintain eye contact with them at all times. Otherwise, they may not realize you are talking to them and not focus on what you are saying.
- Do not touch them until you have introduced yourself and have asked and been given permission by them to do so. Invading someone’s personal space at any time can be detrimental, but for those with dementia very scary, because with their limited memory, physical contact can be overwhelming if done too quickly.
- Do not expect them to remember your name or be offended if they don’t recognize you. They are not choosing to forget, the disease is taking that ability from them. Their hearts will usually recognize you, but you need to give them time and space for this connection to kick-in. Talk with them gently, hold their hand, give them a hug and soon you will find that it isn’t about the name, but about the love that is still there if you give it time to be felt.
For some the gifts of dementia are hard to recognize, but we see them daily at Azura Memory Care in the smiles of our residents, the laughter of a shared joke, the voices that raise in song and the many MOSAIC Moments of joy. Ask us about the gifts we witness every day and how you can be a part of the magic!