Living Well with Dementia

What if… one could still live well with dementia? Is it possible? The brain changes with dementia and results in changes to a person’s cognitive processing, memory, and associated behavioral responses.  As a 57 year old, I can honestly say that I have seen changes in those areas in my life. And yet I still live well. How? I make adaptations by using technology and calendars. I trust those I am with to support me when I have a slip-up. My social and family systems support me and don’t define me by these changes that are occurring with normal aging. 

For a person living with dementia, brain changes are magnified, negatively affecting  daily life in more extreme or possibly dangerous ways. We cannot reverse the disease. But we do have the power to change the way we support people in continuing to live well with the diagnosis in new ways. Consider using these strategies. 

Focus on your relationship rather than feeling the need to take over. A sense of helplessness can come along with changing abilities. Your ability to provide engagement which continues to include them in everyday life can help alleviate some of those feelings. 

Avoid questioning or correcting as this creates self doubt.  Go with the flow. Use empathy to connect and acknowledge their emotion, and then offer to find ways to ease their situation together. Give them reassurance they are not alone. 

Identify topics and opportunities that are meaningful for them. Do this through discussion about their favorite music, entertainment, hobbies or field of study. Find ways to integrate these topics in your interactions and conversation.  Create a playlist of their favorite songs or groups and share them with the circle of support. Imagine saying “Alexa, play mom’s rock-n-roll favorites.” and instantly providing a familiar and pleasant space.  

Follow the Inspired Senior Care Instagram channel during March to see 16 scenarios of personalized solutions to support those having difficulties with the effects of brain change.  You can make a difference! InspiredSeniorCare Instagram

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