Just because someone has dementia, does not mean that they cannot or do not want to communicate anymore. Depending on where someone is in their stage of living with dementia, difficulties in the way they might experience a conversation can present themselves. It is important to make this person feel cared for, comforted, and content while discussing any subject with them. Below are some ideas of topics and activities to try when you visit your loved one at Gianna Homes.
1. Read a book together
Reading with one another can create the feeling or action of learning, listening, and knowledge building. If the person you are visiting has a favorite book, bringing it in and reading it with them could be a great way to foster an old memory or comfort them in the current moment. Books on faith can also help with the emotions one may be experiencing during a specific moment in time. Reading a book together can be truly meaningful for everyone involved.
2. Going through familiar photo albums or new pictures/videos that have been taken
Choosing a picture with a memory from long ago may be a nice subject to chat about. It’s important to note that you should not be quizzing your loved one. You should be describing what you remember from whichever event you chose, then sharing those details. Connecting this with a picture can be helpful and may invoke memories from both parties that have been forgotten.
If you had a recent experience you would like to share or describe, bringing in an image or video can be useful to describe what you are talking about as well. Because your loved one won’t know what experience you’re talking about until you tell them, this could be a nice way to facilitate conversation.
3. Listen to music together
The way music is processed in the brain is still somewhat of a mystery, but one thing that is for certain is that many of the brain’s functions are being used while it is processed. Music can have a significance to someone whether it strikes up an emotion they feel, an occurrence they may remember, or any other type of association they may be able to make at the time. It shouldn’t matter whether they can name the artist or title of a particular song as long as they are engaged with the music that is playing.
At Gianna Homes, we offer music therapy at our locations to our residences. It is a huge part of who we are and we have found great success in 1:1 sessions as well.
All of the topics and/or activities listed above are just suggestions and can be roadmaps to help you on your quest to connect with someone in your life who has been affected by the various stages of dementia. The connections made whether big or small are all meaningful. It is essential to understand how to effectively connect and can benefit everyone involved.
If you know someone living with a form of dementia, such as Alzheimer’s Disease, we invite you to take a closer look at our home. Contact us today to learn more about Gianna Homes!