Good morning and welcome to today’s Wednesday Workshop. Today I am going to share the 5 things your loved one needs each and every day, over and above their activities of daily living.
Caring for someone living with Alzheimer’s or other form of dementia can be difficult. So often in our efforts to meet our loved one’s daily needs, such as bathing, eating, and toileting, we unwittingly neglect their equally important whole-person needs, that should also be met on a daily basis.
Meeting your loved one’s whole-person needs will help to enhance their quality of life through meaningful, life enriching activities and interactions. Here are the 5 additional needs your loved one has, and some tips on how you can best meet them.
The first, is their physical well-being. This includes making sure they feel safe, but also includes their need for physical movement. Each day try to engage your loved one in an activity that gets their body moving. This might be a walk, chair exercises or even dancing around the kitchen.
The second is their need for a sense of purpose. When you and I wake-up each day, we have a pretty good idea of what we will be doing. We have a job, things to do around the house, or a plan that extends past the breakfast hour. What is your loved one’s job? What does the rest of their day look like? Consider finding things for them to help you with on and off throughout the day. This provides them with both a sense of purpose, and a sense of accomplishment. Most importantly it makes them feel useful, let’s them know that they still matter and that they are not a burden to you.
The third need your loved one has each day is for a sense of calm. Although we encourage movement, activity and opportunities for socialization and cognitive stimulation, we also stress the importance of giving you loved one the ability to sit quietly, nap or simply decompress. For some, this may also be a good time for them to connect to their spirit.
Your loved one’s emotional needs are the fourth need that should be met each day. Everyone needs to have their emotions acknowledged and validated, and this doesn’t change regardless of diagnosis. Be sure to acknowledge, for example, that you can see they are scared. Tell them they are safe and that you love them. Remember your own body language can also communicate that you are calm and that everything is okay.
Lastly, the fifth need your loved one has each day is for intellectual engagement. For people living with dementia, this means helping them to use their current abilities to stimulate thinking and memory. There are so many ways you can help them do this! From playing games to reminiscing, or just helping you around the house. It’s okay if they stop doing the puzzle 10 minutes in or get side-tracked when looking through a photo album. Remember that for your loved one, it’s the doing of the activity that matters the most, not the completing of the task.
You can learn more about person-centered care by watching this video:
If you would like additional guidance on how to best navigate your caregiving journey, reach out to the Alzheimer’s Care Resource Center at 561-588-4545 . hanks for watching today’s Wednesday Workshop and we’ll see you again next week.