In today’s society people are living longer because of healthier lifestyle choices. The senior citizens are living well in to their 80’s and 90’s. However, this puts them at an increase risk of developing dementia. It has been said that if the individual does not develop a chronic illness by this age more than likely the individual will develop a form of dementia. Dementia is a term that is used to describe an illness of the brain. The term “Dementia” is an umbrella term for all of the types of dementia that exists because there approximately 35 different types. Alzheimer’s Disease is difficult to deal with.
An individual diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease or dementia is difficult to deal with because of the disease progression. Families have to decide on the course of care for their loved one. Where will their loved one live? Will they live at home? Will they be placed in an Assisted Living facility or long-Term care facility? If the family chooses to place the individual in a facility setting then other questions a rise.
You find yourself in a dilemma when visiting with your loved one. What can we do together? What can we discuss? There are a variety of activities that you can do. This provides the opportunity for the two of you to enjoy a meaningful visit.
Your family member has a wealth of information. Although the short- term memory is affected, the long-term memory is still active. Your loved one recalls stories from long ago so interview them then record those memories down in a journal. Remember to ask specific questions related to his/her life. Later on you can create a book about them, any way that you wish, then call it “This is Your Life” in. However, what do you do on a visit when there is a severe cognitive decline? This is when sensory and tactile stimulation is important. One tool that can be used is aromatherapy. Bring in hand lotion to apply on his/her hand for a massage. On nice days go outside to sit because Mother Nature is wonderful tool to use for sensory stimulation. Provide the opportunity for each one to hold a leaf, a stick or a flower. Be careful that they do not put it in their mouth.
These few suggestions are some ideas that will lead to a meaningful, purposeful and interactive visit with your loved one when. Then the visit will be meaningful for all of those who participated in the visit.