Aug 22, 2011

Validating Feelings of Seniors with Memory Loss

Today, there is no magic solution -- or pill -- that will make someone with dementia better again. However, we can understand that repetitive statements or unexplainable actions for these individuals are often their way of expressing an unmet basic human need and a substitute for saying, "I want to start a conversation about my life." -- Rita Altman

Alzheimer's Reading Room

I just finished reading an interesting article written by Rita Altman. The article was published on the Huffington Post.

Rita is Vice President, Memory Care and Programming for Sunrise Senior Living.

In the article Rita describes an encounter and interaction with an 80 year old man living with dementia.

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Here are some excerpts from the article.

"Have you seen my mother?" he'd ask repeatedly, for hours, as he wandered up and down the hallways. It began shortly after his family moved him into our assisted living community's memory care neighborhood. When he wasn't asking for his mother, he was reciting fragments, and sometimes whole verses, of Poe, Frost and Emerson

Mr. Richards just wanted to express his loneliness and his anger towards his father. Dementia robs him of his ability to convey his emotions in more traditional ways. As those with memory loss age, they unconsciously begin to reflect on their lives and seek to resolve unsettled emotions.

Instead of lying or denying the reality that memory loss sufferers live in, we can help them feel valued and heard by validating their emotions. We have the opportunity to accompany them on their journey to resolve conflict in their lives through listening with empathy. We can help them communicate.

To read the article go here -- Validating Feelings of Seniors with Memory Loss

After you read the article let us know your reaction. If you have any additional insights, advice, or questions, use the Add New Comment box below this article.

More Insight and Advice for Caregivers

Original content Bob DeMarco, the Alzheimer's Reading Room