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How to Improve Quality of Life for Seniors with Dementia

May 15, 2018
Categories: Research

Each person has a different definition of quality of life. For some, it might be watching a sunset, playing a favorite sport or board game, reading a book, or enjoying a nice dinner with family. While your preferences may be different, we can all agree that quality of life is made by these special moments. If you have a loved one living with memory loss or dementia, it is important to understand that despite the disease, they are still capable of finding pleasure, feeling satisfaction, and living a happy life. At Artis Senior Living, our goal is to make the lives of our residents easier. Here are a few ideas for how you can improve the day-to-day life of a loved one living with dementia.

Provide a Relaxed Environment

When someone you love has Alzheimer's disease or dementia, providing a calm, tranquil environment is key to their quality of life. We know how hard it can be at times, but providing a serene ambiance benefits everyone – patients, care partners, and family. Fill their home with soft music and aromatics, decorate it with soothing colors and warm light, and make the rooms easy to navigate. It’s always nice to have visitors, but it’s also really helpful to have a schedule. Help them by maintaining consistent visit times.

Provide Emotional Support

Sometimes the only thing you need to do for a senior with dementia, is be there for them. While a care partner can assist Alzheimer’s patients in many ways, support from family and friends is irreplaceable. No matter how busy your days can get, it’s always important to plan a visit and enjoy some quality time with your loved one.

In the early days it can be overwhelming to find answers to those tough questions, but the best way to get through it is together. Seniors and their family both need emotional support throughout this journey. For a lot of people, joining a support group can be really helpful. Whatever your situation is, it’s comforting to know that you are not alone.

Introduce Meaningful Activities

“Change and adapt, but don’t stop” is something you’ll hear a lot when your loved one lives in an Artis Senior Living community. Maintaining an interest in stimulating activities can help reduce the effects of the disease and will ensure the senior continues to interact with those around them. Yes, some activities may be more difficult than before, but that doesn’t negate the interest. Meaningful activities, whether they are new or old, are important for keeping the individual happy and engaged.

Reminiscence Therapy

Reminiscence therapy, also known as “life review therapy,” is an effective and pleasant way to connect with individual who have dementia. How does it work? Events from an individual’s late teens and early twenties tend to remain as the most prominent memories. Psychologists call this "the reminiscence bump." These memories remain vivid and can easily be remembered by using simple triggers. This is a great way to get a better understanding and feeling of their lives before the illness.

Encourage Social Interaction

Therapy, a relaxed environment, and meaningful activities are important, but nothing is as important as social interaction. Listen to your loved one, be there, and encourage them to make the most of their days. Assess your loved one’s social needs and try to meet them where they are by working together with their care partners – and don’t forget to remind them how much you love them. While many seniors receive clinical or emotional support, they don’t always get physical support. Sometimes a hug can say everything that words can’t.

If you would like to learn more about how to improve quality of life for seniors living with dementia, contact your nearest Artis Senior Living community today.

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