Image of elderly nursing patient walking in the park with family.The progression of Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia may make it impossible to have the same relationship with loved ones as we once did, but we can still have valuable connections with them.

Many people delay visiting family members with dementia, unsure of what to do or say. The key is to put the hesitancy aside and just visit them. Once you see where they are cognitively, you can begin to work on ways to communicate and connect with them.

It also helps to have a topic of focus when you spend time with someone with dementia. If they love animals, bring a dog or cat to interact with them, or even a book with photographs of different species. If they loved reading, bring a favorite book and read aloud to them. For sporting fans, bring some equipment from their favorite sport or memorabilia from their beloved team.

Embassy Healthcare – which has extensive, professional dementia care services – offers the following tips to help develop or maintain meaningful connections with loved ones with Alzheimer’s or dementia:

  1. Bring a friend or family member: It may be helpful to have another member of the family, friend or resident of the senior care community there with you for the visit. This will help take some of the pressure off you of having to do all the talking.
  2. Choose age-appropriate activities: Even though the person isn’t their old self cognitively, they’re still an adult. Choose adult coloring books over ones designed for little children, for example.
  3. Appeal to the senses: Try to stimulate non-verbal connections such as those developed with hearing, smell, taste, and touch. Bring in beloved music, food, or other items for them to hold and enjoy.
  4. Make sure the time suits them: If they’re in a skilled nursing community, ask staff for the best time to visit. 

Embassy Healthcare’s dementia care program provides a safe, secure living space for people with dementia. Our experienced staff members ensure your loved one’s daily activities – including meals, bathing, and medications – are taken care of with a customized care plan catering to their specific needs.

For more information on Embassy Healthcare’s dementia care services, call us at 888-975-1379 or schedule a tour of our facilities.