Caring for a partner with Alzheimer’s or dementia can be hard, but navigating your relationship with your partner can be even harder. The journey can be challenging, but it is far from devoid of tenderness and light. Here are some practical tips to guide you as you navigate the intricacies of loving a partner with Alzheimers or dementia:
Embrace Patience and Acceptance: Memories may fade, routines might change, and communication will evolve. Accept these shifts with patience. Don't correct, argue, or force forgotten details. Validate their feelings, even if their reality differs from yours.
Rediscover Non-Verbal Language: Words may falter, but the touch of your hand, a warm smile, or a comforting hug can speak volumes. Lean into non-verbal communication to express love and build security.
Connect Through Activities, Not Words: Shared activities can forge new bonds and spark joy. Choose simple, familiar tasks like listening to music, going for walks, sorting photos, or gardening. Focus on the shared experience, not flawless execution.
Live in the Present: Memories may blur, but the present moment remains vibrant. Focus on creating positive experiences – a shared meal, a sunny afternoon in the park, a quiet conversation. Treasure these moments, and let them build a new layer of your love story.
Build a Safe and Familiar Environment: Minimize clutter and disorientation. Maintain familiar routines as much as possible. Keep well-loved objects like photos and trinkets within reach to foster a sense of comfort and security.
Communicate with Understanding: Tailor your communication to their current grasp. Keep sentences short and simple, avoid open-ended questions, and listen actively. Validate their frustrations and anxieties with empathy.
Remember the Person Beneath the Disease: The essence of your partner, their humor, kindness, and spirit, endures. Focus on those qualities, reminding yourself and them of the person you love, not just the dementia.
Take Care of Yourself: Prioritize your own well-being. Practice self-care through exercise, relaxation techniques, and spending time with loved ones. A healthy you can better support your partner and navigate the challenges ahead.
Seek Support and Resources: You are not alone. Utilize support groups, professional guidance, and community resources. Sharing your experiences and learning from others can be a lifeline.
The team at Carefield Pleasanton is always available to answer your questions about memory care for your loved one, and the benefits of a community. Call us today to take a tour or fill out the form below.