For the care partners (the person with dementia and their caregiver) living with Alzheimer’s disease or another dementia, their worlds will quickly shrink if they do not overcome the fears and emotions associated with the disease.
Too often, they isolate themselves from engagement with others. As a result, they find themselves with only each other to interact with on a daily basis. Even in a relationship not affected by Alzheimer’s, this is typically a remedy for failure as each person begins to wear on the nerves of the other.
Related TinT Article: Is Your Loved One Enriched or Just Pacified?
Maintaining relationships with other people brings variety and new experiences to our lives. These interactions are important to most people’s livelihood and helps us maintain purpose and individualism.
These relationships also provide breaks from one another which help both individuals to refresh and find more joy when together. Maintaining happiness is much easier when there is meaningful engagement in both lives.
I expand upon this in my article, How to Create Meaning in Dementia Care, which was published by Next Avenue.
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Have you discovered activities that help keep you and your loved one active and engaged, or do you have a question? Please comment below:
You say what we need but not how to get it. I am my wife’s caregiver and struggle a lot of the day. I wish she were more engaged – she sits around bored much of the time but refuses to go to a day center or have a senior partner.
Mike Good says
Hi Ed, I apologize that this article doesn’t provide much regarding how to create engagement. As a volunteer at a day center, I highly recommend that you talk to their social worker about your wife’s situation. Hopefully, they will have some suggestions on how to get her to visit the day program. Sometimes it’s telling them they are going to work or to volunteer. And often, they the go from resisting to enjoying. Also, here is an article with more about how to create enrichment. Near the bottom of the article, you will find a list of ideas. http://togetherinthis.com/loved-one-enriched-just-pacified/
Gweneth Wallis says
i am currently looking after my 90 yr young step. Mum who was given the news of her dementia illness 3 years ago. I am putting my hope in what you have written to guide me in providing better care for her.
Mike Good says
Hi Gwen, you are doing the right thing by getting educated and learning new ideas for caring for Mum. Stay creative, adapt, and embrace her reality.
Afton Jackson says
I definitely agree that people with dementia could suffer from isolation if they don’t have meaningful engagement with other people. In fact, I’m afraid that my mother is about to suffer from this since she doesn’t seem to have any friends she can talk to and constantly forgets about things that could help her socialize. I don’t want this to happen to her at all, so I’ll look for any nursing homes that can provide her with dementia care and some nice social engagement.