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Connecting with Elderly Dementia

An elderly man with dementia talks with his son outside in the backyard of their house on Long Island. He has a Alzheimer's disease and needs home care in NYCPart of being human is connecting with other people, friends and family. Fortunately, dementia does not take that away from us. Finding activities that continue to build and strengthen bonds between you and your loved one can feel impossible when they suffer from dementia. Here are a few ideas that can help create connections with your loved one.

Making connections;
8 different ways to reach someone with dementia

For those with dementia, memories from their childhood tend to stay intact and often reflect on these memories. Sometimes it can seem that their minds only recall times from their childhood and youth. These memories can be used to build new connections or to strengthen old ones.

Try some of these ideas next time you’re visiting with your loved one:

Bag-O-Memories

Close up of a male statue, modern copy of a Greek original. Good for museum concepts.Find a bag and fill it different things that are nostalgic of their past, particularly items from their teenage years and their twenties. Smells are very powerful and can draw on specific memories. Consider adding perfume, aftershave or soaps.

Flipping through old photos

Looking through old photos with your loved one can be rewarding and can help draw memories for you to connect on. Try to find albums that have pictures from their childhood and youth years. Old newspaper and magazine clippings might be a nice addition, ones with lots of pictures

Music

Smiling pleased senior man playing pianoLook for songs that were popular in their teens and make a play list. When you visit with them you can listen to music of their past. Downloading songs is an option, or setting up an online radio station that caters to music of their era is another option. Listening to music could create a dialogue with your parent, you might learn a song that was their favorite that you have not added to the playlist.

Singing Old Songs Together

Those who spent a lot of time at church as a child might enjoy singing old hymns. During the holidays, sing carols and other classic holiday tunes.

Movies and Television

Did your loved one watch westerns like Roy Rogers as a kid? Or maybe they enjoyed comedies such as I Love Lucy. Perhaps musicals where more their speed. Spend a night watching some favorites like “Singing in the Rain” or “West Side Story.” With new ways to watch television and movies, finding these oldies is much easier.An elderly woman looking for her favorite recipes in a cookbook

Browse Old Cookbooks

Browsing through old cookbooks can be especially reminiscent for women. Many young girls spent a lot of time in the kitchen learning to cook. A lot of women continued to cook as they got older for themselves and their families. Having conversations about family receipts and cooking with them is a nice way to spend time together.

Share Some Treats

Enjoy delicious treats together. There are companies that specifically make candies that are nostalgic. Try finding them online or in local stores near you. Other types of food and treats can spark a memory. Maybe a peach can bring memories of summer months when they were young.

Encourage Old Skills

Perhaps your parent used to knit or crochet? Bring a quilt or homemade scarf to your loved one. Let them feel the fabric and the texture of the yarn. Their hands might remember more than you think, despite having dementia.

Our loved ones will change as dementia progresses. They may seem like a different person but they still desire compassion and a connection with family and friends. Your encouragement can develop relationships, strengthen bonds and bring joy to both you and your loved one.

About AlvitaCare

Alvita Care is a fully licensed home healthcare company providing premier in home caregiver services to seniors living in New York City and on Long Island NY. With offices in Midtown Manhattan and Hauppauge NY, Alvita Care was founded in 2008 upon the idea of "Care Without Compromise". Our care-giving services enhance seniors' lives, by improving their well-being, dignity and independence. We have earned The Joint Commissions Gold Seal of Approval and pride ourselves with our proprietary caregiver matching process that carefully matches our experience caregivers to each client based on personality and technical skills needed. Alvita Care can help whether you need assistance for several hours a few times a week or you require live-in or around-the-clock assistance. Our caregivers provide assurance and relief to families by relieving their anxiety, knowing that their loved one is safe, happy and lovingly cared for.