Oct 3, 2016

The Role of Reassurance, Attachment and Connectedness in Effective Alzheimer's Care

Do you ever feel like you are failing to connect with your loved one living with dementia? I know what this feels like because it happened to me.

Touch, Reassurance and effective communication are important components of effective Alzheimer's Care.

By Bob DeMarco
Alzheimer's Reading Room

In the beginning my mother would say almost daily -

I don't want you here, I can take care of myself, Get Out!

This of course was very hurtful to me. How could a person that I was taking care of 24 hours a day, 7 days a week tell me to get out? This was clearly a disconnect.

My mother didn't know she needed me, and no matter how hard I tried to explain why she did, it always ended badly.

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Eventually I started thinking about how my mother was feeling; instead of, focusing on how I was feeling.

This process of focusing on her behavior and her feelings finally resulted in a breakthrough. A caregiving break through.

It finally dawned on me that what my mother really needed was greater reassurance and less words. Words she really couldn't understand and assimilate.

The Best Way to Find Solutions to the Problems that Caregivers Face Each Day

These lead me to a new set of ideas which I put into practice one by one.

The first was the role of reassurance in dementia care. What does reassurance mean?
Reassurance, to Reassure:
  • to make someone feel less afraid, upset, or doubtful.
  • to restore to confidence.
  • to relieve someone of anxiety.
Synonyms: assure, cheer, console, comfort, solace, soothe.
I explained my understanding of the role of reassurance in this article -

The Role of Reassurance in Dementia Care

I soon realized that Touch was an important part of reassurance.
One of the biggest challenges that Alzheimer's Caregivers face is how to communicate effectively with someone living with Alzheimer's disease. This challenge is particularly difficult when a person living with Alzheimer's becomes nasty and mean.
This article explains what I was thinking on this issue.

Alzheimer's Communication Tip -- Touching Foreheads and Kindness

Over time I finally realized that using too many words only confused my mother and often lead to her being anxious, confused and angry.
In Alzheimer's World if you use too many words all you are really saying is Blah, Blah, Blah - Blah Blah.

An Alzheimer's Communication Tip - No More Blah Blah Blah

The bottom line as I see it. Instead of making it all about you, start looking at the world from the view of the person living with dementia. As a result of Alzheimer's or a related dementia they see and hear things differently than we do.

Their perception of our words and actions are often quite different that we might be thinking.

If we "tweak" our behavior just a bit we should find that they become kinder, and gentler, and more joyful to be around.

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Embracing Reality in Dementia Care

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Bob DeMarco  is the Founder of the Alzheimer's Reading Room (ARR). Bob is a recognized expert, writer, speaker, and influencer in the Alzheimer's and Dementia Community worldwide. The ARR Knowledge Base contains more than 5,000 articles and 781,000 links. Bob lives in Delray Beach, FL.

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