I was talking with someone the other day who had recently visited a couple of people with Alzheimer's disease. She confessed to me that she wasn't sure what to say to them or how to make her visits with them meaningful. Knowing her as I do, I'm sure she did a great job, but it got me thinking about the answer to that dilemma. How indeed do you make the time you spend with a loved one who has Alzheimer's or another dementia meaningful?
For me, the answer shifts a bit depending on what stage of Alzheimer's that person is in. Our approach to someone who's just been diagnosed should be different than when we're interacting with someone in the late stages. One thing that holds true, though, no matter who that person is or what stage they're in, is that we need to offer ourselves genuinely during our time with them. We need to set aside our random, distracted thoughts and really be there with them. Their memory might not be the best, but they can often feel our distractedness or our hurriedness.
With this in mind, here are some tips on how to make the most of those visits:
I hope these suggestions are helpful for you. Feel free to comment below with other ideas or thoughts.