“It takes a village.” It’s a phrase often used when referring to raising children, but having a village is a lifelong need. That village becomes vital once a loved one starts showing signs of cognitive decline or receives a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease or dementia.
Once someone begins that journey, it requires those closest to them to pull together to help them on that path.
Keeping that loved one with cognitive decline involved and included in conversations is an important way of helping them maintain their relationships and sense of belonging.
As a caregiver for someone living with cognitive decline, even mild decline or mild cognitive impairment, it means making some adjustments to how you relate to your loved one, as well as helping those in your village undertake those changes as well.
Here are three ways caregivers and loved ones can help someone living with cognitive decline remain a vital part of conversations and gatherings:
· Don’t interrupt or finish a thought
As someone is telling a story, they may grasp for details or repeat themselves. Allow them space to do so – interrupting them or jumping in to finish their story can be discouraging and make them reluctant to try again in the future. Part of living with cognitive decline is exercising the brain through conversation.
· Ask direct questions
People with cognitive decline can struggle with open-ended questions. For instance, asking ‘What would you like to do today?’ forces them to consider options and try to come to a decision. Instead, ask “Would you like to go for a walk?” or offer another activity they enjoy. Yes or no questions help direct their focus.
· Recognize when a break would be welcome
If you sense frustration creeping in, change the topic in conversation, or suggest a different activity – maybe a walk or a change of location. You can even just lean in for a hug or take their hand. Small gestures can bring big feelings of support.
Those adjustments can have a big effect on the well-being of your loved one as they strive to remain a vital part of their village.
Free Guide to Cognitive Health
Here at Prestige Senior Living at Mira Loma, we have resources available to help you and your loved one through the journey of cognitive decline, and our team is here to be part of your village.
At our website, you can download a free guide that covers a wide variety of topics related to cognitive health, including information about the different stages of memory loss, advice for those living with cognitive decline and their caregivers, tips on tending to mental health, cognitive assessments, memory games and much more.
To download our free guide to cognitive health, visit prestigecanhelp.com.
A Focus on Cognitive Health at Prestige
At Prestige Senior Living at Mira Loma, cognitive health is a centerpiece of our wellness programs; our assisted living residents take part in our Celebrations program, which includes Mind Masters, with appropriate challenges and brain games to help preserve and grow residents’ cognitive health.
For more about our cognitive programming or our community, visit prestigecare.com/MiraLoma or call us at (702) 260-8400 to schedule your visit.