Has your loved one with dementia progressed along their journey? Are you finding they are no longer recognizing you and are you feeling forgotten? Unfortunately this experience is quite real for many persons living with dementia and their relatives and friends. But it doesn't have to be a negative experience. There are ways to support both yourself and your loved one throughout this next chapter.
A person with dementia is still themselves
Individuals living with dementia are still themselves and they are still here. It is up to us to recognize them, and not for them to always recognize us. They are still able to interact, whether verbal or non-verbal and you can still connect no matter how far along you are on the dementia journey. Reflect on all of the special moments you've had throughout your lives and continue to connect even in this chapter.
Be there for them
Relatives might find this experience difficult to cope with and may no longer want to visit with them if their loved one no longer recognizes them. Doing this might only perpetuate the lack of recognition. However, visiting will still help them to remember you, your voice, or how your hand feels in theirs. Continue to connect and you'll be surprised when you connect over a look, a wink, or a touch of the hand.
The power of touch
While they may no longer be able to verbally say who you are or might seem disinterested in the conversation, know that persons living with dementia are still able to connect. There are many benefits through touch, whether through a hug, touch of a hand, or pat on the back.
It's not their fault
Avoid blaming the person with dementia with their lack of recognition. It's not their fault that they might struggle expressing your name or who you are to them. Avoid phrases such as, 'do you remember me?' Or 'what's my name?' This might only contribute to further frustrations. Instead, tell your relative with dementia who you are and greet them as you always have, while maintaining their personhood.
Do you have any special moments with your loved one with dementia you'd like to share? Comment in the box below.