Alzheimer’s disease affects more than just the patient – it is a family disease because it affects the entire family unit. When someone you love is diagnosed with this particular form of dementia, lives are going to change – and they will change drastically. You need to be supportive and understanding as your loved one goes through these drastic life changes. When the disease has progressed to late-stage Alzheimer’s, you can help make visits easier with the following tips.
Don’t be afraid to express yourself through touch. At this stage, your loved one needs to feel your love and compassion through your touch. Hold her hand, smooth her hair, put your arm around her – all of these little gestures will help your loved one feel your love and understanding.
Keep talking. Even at this late stage of the disease, your loved one will take comfort from the sound of your voice. Tell her stories about your day, your job, your children – whatever you want to talk about, share it with her.
Do more than just talk. Instead of having your voice be just a monotonous drone, use your body language and facial expressions to help tell your story. Stimulate your loved one’s mind with your captivating tales – even if she doesn’t fully understand, she will appreciate the communication.
Go outside. Take your loved one out to partake of all the exciting sights, sounds, and smells. Alzheimer’s disease does not mean your loved one can no longer enjoy the little things, like a walk in the park.
Utilize music and television. Turn on some relaxing music when you visit your loved one. Choose songs that might help her remember things from the past, such as popular songs from her generation. Watch a movie or television show together. She may not understand the storyline, but the bonding time will have the most significant impact.