According to the Alzheimer’s Association, more than 5.7 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s Disease. That number is only expected to increase over the next few decades, and does not include statistics regarding other types of dementia. These numbers mean one thing – chances are high that you already know, or will know, someone living with memory impairment.
People living with Alzheimer’s Disease or other dementia face a series of challenges throughout different stages of the disease. Complications such as communication difficulties or decreased attention span can make maintaining friendships more difficult for that person and for their loved ones. However, knowing a few ways to connect can help you to create positive moments together.
Work on a project together.
People who share an experience automatically have something in common, and this approach works well for those looking to connect with someone living with dementia. Bring supplies to work on a project together – cook a favorite recipe, pot a houseplant, or use watercolors to create a piece of art. Get lost in the activity together, but remember that it isn’t the end result that matters, but the process of working on it together.
Take a walk together.
People living with dementia can sometimes feel restless and have a desire to walk. Use this to your advantage by taking a stroll together. You can walk around the neighborhood or local garden. Chat about whatever subject comes up, and observe your surroundings together. Smell flowers or remark on the color of the house on the corner.
Look at photos and remember.
Dementia often takes more recent memories while leaving older memories in tact for longer. Pull out old photos and learn the stories behind the pictures. Ask questions about their childhood and listen to what they have to say. You just may learn something new and interesting!
How do you connect with someone living with dementia? We would love to learn from what you have had success with. Write about your experience and submit it to us; you just may be published on our site! Let’s share with one another and learn together.