Caring for close relatives and family members suffering from Alzheimer’s or other age-related cognitive disorders is a very difficult ordeal. We hope our tips can help make it a little easier.
15% of people over 65 face age-related dementia; by age 80, one in five face serious cognitive decline.
But the reality is that many more people suffer from these disorders: After all, dementia affects not only those who themselves are affected by the disease, but also their loved ones. And it is not only the care of the person who is ill that is difficult, but primarily the emotional interaction with that person.
The Difficulties Of Loved Ones
People living with Alzheimer’s or other cognitive disorders continue to experience a variety of (including very strong) emotions, but cannot understand or interpret them correctly – and therefore become even more upset and distressed. And relatives often cannot help and feel hard about their helplessness.
We hope that our tips will help build emotional communication with loved ones with dementia, and alleviate the condition of both patients and those who love and care for them.
Try To Learn As Much As Possible About The Diagnosis
The better we understand what our loved one is experiencing, what they are going through, and what processes in their body are responsible for their condition, the easier it is for us to maintain empathy and emotional attachment.
Sometimes it seems to loved ones that their ill relative demonstrates a loss of emotion, but often in fact this person is simply unable to understand the conversations of others, their instructions – and is unable to participate in communication, and as a result the disease progresses more quickly.
It is important not only to read medical or popular science literature about the disorder your loved one is experiencing, but also the stories of people who are also caring for family members who are ill. Constant interaction with a person suffering from age-related dementia is a heavy burden, and communication with “peers” can be a source of support and even help.
Don’t Be Left Alone With The Disease
Caring for someone with dementia alone is not only physically difficult, but also emotionally difficult. A person who bears the full burden of care quickly loses the emotional connection with a loved one suffering from dementia, begins to see him or her not as a parent, grandparent or grandmother, but only as a patient.
It is very important to maintain a circle of communication and emotional connection with other people: family members, friends or even colleagues.
And it is very important to take at least one day a week off from care work, reassigning it to other family members or hired caregivers. Once again we emphasize: in your free days it is important to rest, recharging your inner “battery” from communication with people important to you and from the activities that bring you pleasure.
Turn To Art For Help
One of the important functions of art – painting and especially music – is the ability to awaken emotions. Research confirms that listening to music and even singing together helps not only patients feel better, but also establishes a stronger emotional connection with their caregivers.