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Helping a Loved One Cope with Dementia

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Maybe you have friends who are in the advanced stages of memory loss. Or perhaps a family member has recently been diagnosed with dementia. You might even be cautious about the state of your own brain/memory health. Whatever your motivation for learning more about dementia, it’s nice to know there are many resources and caring people to help you through this trying time.

In fact, November is National Alzheimer’s Disease Month. This is a great time to brush up on facts and myths about the disease. Here are some of the most popular ways to help a loved one cope with dementia:

Focus on Rituals

You probably have a routine you stick to each day. It helps you cross tasks off your to-do list, arrive with time to spare to errands and appointments, and schedule quality time with friends and family. When someone you know is facing advanced memory loss, routine is all the more important.

So, you should continually help your loved one understand what’s happening that day. It could be as simple as introducing yourself and making the personal connection. For example, you can say: “I’m (your name). I come to chat with you every day.” Also make note of changes in your appearance (haircut, different clothes), no matter how small they might seem.  These simple reminders help people feel a sense of safety. That’s essential when interacting with dementia patients.

Sometimes, your friend or relative simply needs a helping hand around the house. Did you know that the Council on Aging specializes in senior care services? For more information, call us today: (386) 253-4700 x 225.

Be a Good Communicator

The fact that you’re helping someone with advanced memory loss proves that you’re a caring and kind-hearted person. Still, your loved one craves and appreciates your listening skills. It’s normal that some conversations will get repetitive. Often, if you clarify topics or reword questions to avoid potential conflict, you can keep the chat going. For example: “This is a lovely sweater, but it’s 80 degrees today. Are you sure you want to wear it?”

If you feel like your nerves are getting frayed or you just need an extra hand, remember that home care assistance is available through the Council on Aging.

Schedule Activity

Health researchers say even 20 minutes of daily activity can help prevent dementia. You could walk around the block, put on a home exercise video, or choose other ideas that get your/your loved one’s mind and body moving. 

There are many activities for seniors at our locations throughout Volusia County. That includes:

  • balance and stability classes
  • group walks
  • line dancing and ballroom dancing
  • yoga and meditation

You can even combine activity and social interaction. For example, our Ormond Beach dance classes are a great way to show your moves and have a blast with people who share your interests. To see our full activities list, visit our website (www.coavolusia.org) or call the senior center closest to you. 

Get Social

Even if you have limited mobility or prefer other activities, there’s still a lot of fun to be had at our senior centers throughout Volusia County. Try your luck at NSB Bingo, play strategy games like Mahjong and Bunco, make beautiful watercolor and acrylic art, learn about new technology, and more. Get started by contacting your nearest senior center. Or, you can see a full list of activities and events on our website: www.coavolusia.org. 

Trying to make sense of dementia can be stressful and even overwhelming. Rather than feeling depressed, get your spirits up by visiting our Deltona senior center. You can also join us for a nutritious meal. Contact the dining site closest to you to make reservations. As always, feel free to get in touch at any time with all of your questions. Call us at (386) 253-4700 x 225 or visit our website (www.coavolusia.org) to submit an online contact form.


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