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HOW TO CONNECT WITH LOVED ONES LIVING WITH DEMENTIA DURING COVID-19

During this time of coronavirus, we yearn for connection and interaction with our loved ones more than ever. Of course, what we really want is to see and touch their faces, hold hands, and share a warm and familiar embrace. However, for now, with visitation to our Care Centers still restricted, we have turned to assisting our Residents and their families and friends with alternative ways of communicating. We are using the phone, and a video technology called Skype more than ever! While we are fortunate to have the technology be able to talk to, and see our loved ones virtually, it does have its challenges.

The challenges are intensified when a Resident is living with dementia. The conversations can often be one sided, when what we look forward to is a stimulating, meaningful, and even humorous exchange. Here are some tips to help you and your loved one not talk about the weather, or the dreaded Covid-19!

Be prepared and have a few topics to talk about that are positive. Try these:

    A new invention or discovery you’ve heard of.
    Funny news stories “You will never guess what this man did.”
    What the grandkids are doing.
    What you would do if you won the lottery.
    Play “Would you Rather? Or This or that?” Would you rather eat ice-cream everyday for the rest of your life or never again? Dog or Cat?
    Read off information about Tigers. They are fascinating animals!
    Talk about food and cooking.
    Sing a song or recite a poem.
    Turn your TV’s to the same movie and TV show and watch and discuss it together.
    Play trivia.
    Discuss what makes a good President, since everyone has an opinion on that!
    Would you go to the moon if you were able?
    Go through your favorites! What is your favorite color, food, or song?
    Tell jokes or a riddle.
    Begin each call with “This Day in History.”
    Reminisce. How did you meet Mom/Dad?

My husband and our daughter play “Sweet and Sour” over dinner each night. We each share what sweet (good) things and what sour (bad) things happened in our day. That topic stimulates a lot of conversation!

Could you write a biography about your loved one? If not, begin to gather the information. It will become a really special record for your family and an essential tool if your loved one develops dementia. You can share the stories with the Life Enrichment Director. Knowing the little details helps us bring richness to our Residents lives.

When the conversation turns to the current pandemic:

    Listen and be supportive.
    Reminisce about happy times when you were together on vacations, at birthday parties, weddings, and Sunday dinners.
    Talk about what you look forward to doing with each other again.
    Be thankful and count your blessings.
    Pray together.

To connect with your loved ones at either the St. Mark Village Nebraska Campus Care Facilities or the Highland Lakes Assisted Living campus, visit us online at: www.StMarkVillage.org/Skype.

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