A pleasant break from the drudgery of winter, Valentine’s day has become a reason to change décor, purchase chocolate, celebrate love. But as a care companion of an individual with dementia, it can be a bittersweet time. Remembering Valentine’s past; looking at how much has changed, and wondering just how loved your loved one really feels.
Some individuals living with dementia have behavioral and psychological symptoms as their brain changes. Your loved one may begin to have anxiety that results in wandering or expressing a need to go home. Research shows that there are a variety of anecdotes to the symptoms. In the case of the home seeker, success is rarely achieved by taking them home.
A caregiving daughter reports taking her father home for a visit in hopes that his anxiety would ease. It was actually worse, Dad didn’t recognize anything and just got more agitated, asking for home. I love my Dad, I want the best for him. But home is not the answer to his anxiety.
What once gave your loved one comfort is no longer enough. Research shows that behavioral and psychological symptoms diminish when the individual with dementia has the following components:
- Living a full life with dementia
- Being meaningfully engaged and having purpose
- Having dignity, choice and respect
- Having a quality of life that includes care as well as the value and esteem others put on the recipient’s ability and life
These four components are difficult to achieve in your home. Specialized design, dementia-trained staff, abundance of staff, and a high level of dementia-specific programming would be the features best able to deliver this precise prescription for behavioral and psychological symptoms.
Arden Courts’ residents often tell their family and friends, “It’s home. I love it.” Individuals living with dementia have a full life with meaningful engagement, dignity, choice, respect. They feel valued and capable.
Your Valentine is different today. Let Arden Courts show you and your loved one how to celebrate the difference with the expertise that comes from longevity, design and focus.
Love, K., & Fernia, E., 2015. Helping individuals with dementia live more fully through person-centered practices, Journal of Gerontological Nursing, 41(11): 9-14.
By-line: Cate McCarty, PhD, ADC has been collaborating with Arden Courts in a variety of roles since the late 90’s. Her background in nursing, activities and admissions has given her a passionate commitment to quality of life for the individual and family with dementia.