As dementia progresses and cognitive decline increases, it becomes harder for seniors to communicate and connect with the world around them. Sometimes people describe a loved one as an “empty shell” as memory loss gets worse, but the truth is it just requires using new ways to bond and connect. Some days will be better than others, but there are several strategies recommended by Milwaukee senior care professionals that can help you emotionally connect with your loved one.
Watch Comedies Together
Many people with dementia develop a different sense of humor and tend to prefer slapstick comedy over more subtle humor. Watching funny movies together or old sitcoms with slapstick humor like I Love Lucy can be an enjoyable bonding experience that allows the two of you to share laughs together.
Gardening is an enjoyable pastime for people of all ages, but it can be very therapeutic for seniors with dementia. Research has found that activities like gardening that engage the senses invoke positive feelings among people with dementia, and it can help seniors recall happy long-term memories. Try planting bulbs in the fall, annuals in the spring, or transplanting small plants into pots.
Many of us have fond memories of helping our parents in the kitchen when we were younger. Depending on your loved one’s ability, you might try making simple recipes together like Jell-O, salad, or no-bake cookies. Spending time in the kitchen can help seniors with dementia feel more engaged, foster positive emotions, and even stir long-term memories.
Work on Jigsaw Puzzles
Doing puzzles together isn’t just an enjoyable bonding experience. Some research indicates dementia therapy that includes puzzles and games may slow the progression of dementia by stimulating the brain. Choose jigsaw puzzles with large pieces or floor puzzles that do not have many pieces to avoid making discouraging your loved one. You can even find jigsaw puzzles designed specifically for seniors with memory loss that use age-appropriate nostalgic images and large pieces.
If you’re the primary caregiver for a loved one with dementia and need help meeting your loved one’s care needs, turn to Home Care Assistance. We provide trusted Milwaukee dementia care, helping seniors maintain safety and wellness in the comfort of home. Give us a call at (414) 964-8000 to learn more.