Bringing Joy to Your Loved One with Alzheimer's

Early on in my mom's Alzheimer's journey, I sometimes felt like there was no point in spending time with her or doing nice things for her. I would often think to myself, "Why bother? It's not like she's going to remember this anyway." I felt like nothing I said or did would matter because she would forget all about it just a few minutes later.

A new perspective

With time, I learned to accept my mom's Alzheimer's, and with that acceptance came a new perspective.

I realized that it didn't matter if my mom forgot everything I ever said or did for her. What mattered was how it made her feel in the moment. Even if she didn't remember the event, she would remember the feeling it gave her.

And many times, that feeling stayed with her for much longer than any memory would have.

The relentless pursuit of happiness

I became relentless in my pursuit of making my mom smile. I would do anything and everything I could just to get her to crack a little smile. Over time, I learned what worked and what didn't work.

I discovered several "go-to" things that I could say or do to get my mom to smile and even laugh. Many times, I would have her laughing hysterically just by saying a certain word or talking in a funny voice. Everyone would comment on how I was the only one who could always get my mom to smile. I believe it was simply because I refused to give up.

A shift in focus

Finding simple ways to bring my mom joy became my main focus in caregiving.

Our days were never perfect, but we had many priceless moments throughout her battle with Alzheimer's. I found that not only was I able to bring her joy and make her happy for a few moments, but she also came to associate me with that joy and happiness.

She didn't know my name or who I was, but she knew I was someone who made her feel happy and safe. She knew I was someone who brought her comfort and joy, even if only for a few minutes at a time.

No grand gestures necessary

If you are struggling with trying to connect with your loved one who has Alzheimer's, I would encourage you to find ways to bring a few moments of joy to their day. It doesn't have to be a grand gesture or a big plan. In fact, the simpler the better.

It could be singing a silly song to them or making funny animal noises. It could be giving them their favorite snack or reading them their favorite book. It could be giving them a doll or a stuffed animal to hold. Find whatever works for your loved one.

Bringing joy to your loved one with Alzheimer's

It may seem insignificant, but these little moments of joy add up. Your loved one probably won't remember the act itself, but they will remember the way it made them feel. They will remember joy, happiness, and comfort.

Most importantly, they will remember feeling loved and they will begin to associate that love with you. I don't think there's anything more significant than that.

What tools have you utilized to assist in bringing joy to a loved one with Alzheimer's? Does your loved one utilize stuffed animals as one tool? Share their experience with stuffed animals in the forums, here.

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