The holidays can be joyous for many and also hard. Because typically, it is the one of the few occasions during the year when families separated by distance get to see an elder. In fact in may be the only time of the year for some. So you want to be vigilant and make the most out of your visit and time together.
Be on the lookout for physical, behavioral and financial changes and also signs of abuse.
To help you make the most from your visit, Baycrest Community offers a great handbook to help. Here are some things to keep in mind
- Maintaining our identity - our sense of competence - is central to all of us, and this attribute continues as we age.
- Emotional memory persists for those with cognitive loss; feelings are often stronger, more expressive and direct.
- The older person needs to feel respected and validated throughout the visit.
- Observe and interpret behaviour and use as clues for how to proceed.
- Use touch (if it is well-received) and nonverbal gestures to initiate movement.
- Anxiety and tension are easily communicated, and these feelings need to be acknowledged and eased where possible.
- Be attuned to emotional expression - both theirs and yours.
- Change your expectations of visits as your relative's functioning undergoes changes.
- Elders who suffer from memory loss or speech impairment are often unable to respond to ques- tions that require them to recall or describe events. Try to avoid asking information-seeking questions, such as "Tell me about your day?", "What did you have for lunch?" and so forth. Turn questions into statements about the here and now.
- Compliments are usually welcome and help create a comfortable mood.
- Providing links with the past, with what they enjoyed, can help shape your visits.
- Activities can help generate pleasurable feelings. Using music to evoke memories, browsing through a magazine, sitting at the window, going with them to a program, are all activities that provide your elder with pleasure and stimulation without the need to make conversation.
Please make the most of your time together and have a great and meaninful season.
Learn more ~ or join the conversation!
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