Dear St. Paul Hermitage Families and Friends,
Today I wanted to share some ways you can support your loved ones with memory loss. This is a difficult time for everyone, but it can be particularly difficult for residents who have Alzheimer’s and Dementia. I have had families ask how they can help their loved ones during this time. One of the most important things is to listen and validate their feelings. Living through this is hard. One way we can support them is to acknowledge that it is hard. Sometimes the natural response can be to argue or tell them how bad it is for everyone right now. Rather than doing this, it is better to validate their feelings and let them know that things will get better.
Another thing that is important during this pandemic is that we keep them engaged and connected with family. No matter what stage in the dementia process your loved one is experiencing, connection with family and things they love most are vital to their well-being. There are many ways we can assist in this process, but we need your help. Send us pictures or picture slide shows. Our residents love to see both current and old pictures of those they love. I have had a couple of families do this already. Pictures bring so much joy. It is something we can show them repeatedly that will connect them to you. You can also send video messages. I have had a few families send video messages. The residents who received them loved it! We can also play videos again and again. This can help calm them when they are anxious or upset. Finally, music is a huge way to connect with your loved ones. It is a great in-room activity. We have had one family that has filled an ipod with their loved one’s favorite music and we help set it up each day so they can enjoy them. If you know favorite songs or artists that your loved one enjoys, let us know and we will help them listen to them. If you have a loved one with Alzheimer’s or Dementia, I have a challenge for you this week. Help us help your loved one by sending me pictures, videos and music. We will share them with you loved one to help add some joy to their day. Thank you for all the window visits, virtual chats and phone calls these are vital.
Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns. Know of my prayers and love. We miss all of you. You are a vital part of our St. Paul Hermitage Community. Please reach out to me if you need anything during this time.
Sr. Heather Jean