Fostering Independence with Alzheimer’s

An Alzheimer’s or dementia diagnosis can be difficult – but it does not mean giving up on creating special moments with your loved one or living a fulfilling life. Promoting and sparking independence is still possible with help and guidance.
In honor of Independence Day, here are some helpful tips for fostering independence in your loved one:

Allow the Freedom of Choice – The elimination of being able to choose can take away your loved one’s sense of agency and self-worth. Those with Alzheimer’s or dementia may take a longer time to choose, but it doesn’t mean that their everyday choices should be made without their input. Practice patience, narrow down choices to just two, and simplify by asking “Do you want this or that?”.

Listen – Listening to your loved one is still important, even when they are experiencing memory issues. Many seniors feel like the weight of their words are lost as they get older, and the feeling can chip away at their self esteem. Practice active listening by saying “Yes I understand” or “Yes I heard you”. These small affirmations can make your loved one feel heard.

Be Present – Take a walk with your loved one, assist them with their favorite hobby like gardening or baking. Sharing an activity versus directing them to do an activity helps to foster a sense of self as their memory loss progresses.

Keep Communication a Two-Way Street – Loving someone experiencing memory loss can be heartbreaking, but they will always be the person you knew before diagnosis. Keep in mind that they will always be your mom, dad or spouse as you communicate. Communicate with love as much as you can versus directing them as a caregiver. You and your loved one’s relationship will benefit.

Have questions? The team at Carefield Pleasanton is here to help. Join our caregiver’s brunch and support group – contact Carefield Pleasanton by calling (925) 750-8744 or visit today.