Updated: Nov 2, 2020
Unfortunately isolation and loneliness can be one of the most detrimental effects of Alzheimer's disease and other types of Dementia. Quite often this can lead to a number of challenging behaviours within our loved ones, as the emotions linked to this can out-last the memory of what caused these feelings initially.
According to the Alzheimer's Society Dementia 2012 Report, 61% of people with Dementia felt lonely, and 77% were depressed or anxious.
As distressing as this may be, there are ways in which we can help to reduce these feelings of isolation and loneliness for the people we care for:
* By discovering what a client/loved one has an interest in or enjoys doing, you can then encourage and assist them to engage with activities that are meaningful to them.
* By ensuring that you are referring to them by their preferred name, this will allow the client/loved one to feel respected, valued and that their name is of importance.
* By actively listening to the client/loved one and allowing them enough time to share any thoughts and feelings they may have.
* Listening to music can often help clients/loved ones to connect to positive emotions and can provide a great source of comfort and enjoyment.
* When visiting or supporting clients, being aware of any additional sensory needs, such as a hearing or speech impairment can help greatly in reducing feelings of isolation. Ensuring that you are communicating in a way that is inclusive will greatly improve the quality of your time together.
* Allowing the client/loved one to reminisce about their past can lead to positive discussions and have been known to increase a person with Dementia or Alzheimers well being greatly.
*Most importantly, by being mindful of your client/loved one's feelings and making an effort to form connections, will lead to an improvement in the reduction of isolation and loneliness overall.
By placing the client/loved one at the centre of our support or time, we can strive to end these negative impacts on the people we care for.
*Alzheimer's Society. Alzheimer's Society Dementia 2012 Report. http://www.alzheimers.org.uk/site/scripts/download_info.php?fileID=1390