FREE TRAINING: How To Care For A Loved One With Dementia
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How to improve your relationship with someone who has dementia [4 TIPS]

Uncategorized Feb 14, 2021

Welcome back, Careblazer. I’m so excited to talk about today’s topic on how you can have a good relationship with someone who has dementia. If you already have a good relationship with your loved one, that’s great. The 4 tips I’m about to share with you will help you maintain that relationship. My personal favorite is tip #4. 


If you don’t have a good relationship with your loved one, (for example, perhaps your loved one resents your attempts to help them or often resists your efforts to help) then this post will certainly help. 

If you would rather watch a video on this topic, click here.


This information is so important because as you begin the caregiver journey it is so easy to go from being the spouse, partner, or child to being the caregiver. You lose the relationship. Your loved one becomes a patient and you become the caretaker and we lose a lot of the personal relationship. This makes it so much easier for the resistance and resentment to seep in. Many times, the challenges in the relationship happen gradually over time. 


I wish every new person caring for a loved one with dementia would get this information immediately after the diagnosis. It’s that important. I think many of the relationship challenges caregivers face are related to the slow, gradual shift in becoming a full on caregiver and losing the focus on the relationship. 


If you are just beginning to care for your loved one, you are in a really good position to apply these tips and set up the relationship as best as possible. But even if you’ve been in the caregiver role a while, you can still apply these tips. Just like with most things, you’ll want to apply these strategies consistently to see changes over time. 


Okay, let’s start on the 4 tips and real quick before I do, there is 1 week left to join my private care course. It’s my program designed to help lower stress and overwhelm using my 3 step system because when you are feeling better, it’s much more likely your loved one will feel better and there will be less of those really challenging behaviors. There’s a link here for you to check out. 


Let’s dive in. 


Help keep them active by promoting and helping them use their abilities as they can. This will change as the disease progresses so you’ll have to adapt your approach, but if your loved one can still help with dishes, let them help with the dishes. If your loved one can still feed the dog safely, let them feed the dog. Whatever it is your loved one can do, you want to help them continue to do those things. Now there are many emotional and physical reasons this is helpful, but in terms of maintaining and improving your relationship, it is so important for your loved one to feel valued, worthwhile and helpful. Most everyone wants to feel that way. And it’s so easy to get caught up in the caregiver role that we start taking over things that they can do for themselves. Even if they can’t do it entirely correctly, they can still do parts, try to maintain those abilities. It will pay off in the long run with less of a chance your loved one will accuse you of not letting them do anything or feeling like you are treating them like a child.


This is simple, but it has a big payoff. These are things that we would likely do with any relationship we value. Things like hugging, smiling, reminiscing about past memories, talking about future dreams, watching TV together, watching the sunset. The options are truly endless and to help give you ideas, I put together a free activity handout you can download with a bunch of different ideas. But I don’t want you to think this means you have to do some big activity every day. It doesn’t mean that at all. It can literally be a nice smile. Stop and ask yourself, when is the last time you genuinely smiled or hugged your loved one? If it’s been a while, then you certainly want to incorporate this tip in your daily life. 


When is the last time you gave your loved one a compliment or said thank you? Don’t underestimate these simple behaviors. It literally takes no time, but over time this can be the difference between your loved one being more accepting of your help or more resistant of your help. There’s one important thing here though: you want to make sure you are genuine when you do this. Don’t say something you don’t truly believe. You can complement the sweater they are wearing, you can tell them you like their smile, you can tell them you enjoyed having coffee with them. Again, it doesn’t have to be anything “big” but it does have to come from your heart and be truthful. 


This is so so important careblazer. There is very little good that comes from reminding your loved one that they have dementia or that they can’t do something. You want to avoid this at whenever possible. This doesn’t mean that you let your loved one do whatever they want to do when it’s not safe to do so. But it does mean that you become creative in finding ways to redirect or address their question without a focus on the disease.  If they mess up, do something wrong, or say something incorrectly there is no need to point it out or call their attention to it. Whenever you can, normalize the mishap or minimize it as much as possible. If you haven’t already, you may also want to watch my video on whether or not you should remind your loved one they have dementia. 


Alright, Careblazer. Those are my 4 tips I would encourage you to start incorporating into your life daily.  Which tip out of the 4  is your favorite and what other tips would you add to this list? I’d love to know, just leave it in a comment below. 


Alright Careblazer, I’ll be back next week with another post. And don’t forget to check out my  Care Course in the link above! This is the last time this program will be offered at this price, so if you’ve been thinking you are going to join but wasn’t sure when, this is the best time. 


Sending love to you all. Bye!


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