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Why Socializing is Important for Individuals with Dementia

Posted by MarlenaBooks Admin on

woman with dementia holding husband's hand

Sometimes a lot of us like to sit alone in a corner in our own little world. For a while it may seem like the best thing to do, getting some peace of mind. But we often forget that if we get used to this little world we’ve created, we may block out the beauty outside. Maintaining strong relationships with people is really important, especially when it comes to preventing the onset of cognitive decline. Being social may seem quite daunting, but there are different ways that one can interact without it being too much. Not only is this good for your own mental health, it is especially worthwhile for dementia patients - even though encouraging patients to socialise may be challenging. Verbal communication plays a major and crucial role in relationships. It’s amazing how quickly tempers flare and a situation can escalate simply from improper or misunderstood communication, even with our closest kin. >This is what can make Dementia such a struggle for families, caregivers and seniors alike. As our loved ones struggle to properly express themselves, their words can become confusing to interpret. As we try to share our own thoughts, in what we consider to be a clear manner, our loved one may not be able to grasp the concepts or follow the train of thought. When you’ve come to interact with a loved one and yet they respond negatively, it is easy to take it personally. As such, it is useful to have a plan or topics prepared for greatest engagement when planning a visit to loved ones with Dementia.

person comforting woman with dementia

We know it’s hard to start a conversation on your own, we tend to hesitate and ask questions like “What if they don’t understand me?”, or “What if none of this makes sense?”. If you don’t try, you’ll never know! We are are to give you our insights on how to socially engage your loved ones.

To start a conversation about a particular memory, rather than “quiz” the individual with questions; it might be easier to simply describe your own recollections, mention particular details related to the events. This might allow for their own recollection of the memory and they’ll join in, or they may be incentivized to start their own discussion. It might be a good idea to use props, such as directories and Yearbooks, in case the names or pictures jog the memory of your loved one. Even a minor sense of familiarity may calm or ease your loved one. It is better to rely on clear, concrete messaging as opposed to talking in metaphor or other language devices. Structure your language to get your point across in as simple and clear a manner as you can. Remember, avoid arguments, use an adult tone so as not to talk down to them-and, if you’re really stuck for a conversation starter, bring along or play music as it can be therapeutic, calming, and may allow your loved one to express themselves or unlock memories. Remember, the positive emotional reaction that are felt by genuine and caring engagement can last longer than the memories. Their future reactions with caregivers, administration, other visitors or peers can be influenced by empathetic interactions and may make caring for your loved one easier on the part of nurses and stuff. 

Continuing to have meaningful encounters and socializing is necessary for seniors who are suffering or are at risk of developing any type of dementia. Socialization is known to slow down the progression of dementia. A daily dose of social interactions is known to improve cognitive function.  Dementia patients tend to be at a higher risk of social isolation and depression - they are always in need of support from their loved ones. Keep showering your loved ones with immense amounts of love and care! They will appreciate it, and it will most definitely go a long way :)

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