Communicating to our loved ones with dementia

Soon it will be officially autumn by the equinox calendar. In North America we tend to use the term Fall. In New England the Fall colors are spectacular. My husband and I love the Fall for its color and cool but not cold temperatures. Mother Nature is getting ready for a winter sleep.

But that is New England. Depending on your location your weather may not change significantly.

But it will change. Daylight hours change.

For my loved one with dementia as the sun sets she tends to be more agitated. Sundowning is the term. Now that the sun sets earlier and earlier so does the agitation.

She is exhausted after an event that escalates. Recently I facilitated a psychiatry appointment and she was asked “how are you feeling?” It broke my heart to hear her say, she does not feel right, “something is wrong.”

Her short term memory maybe impaired but not her ability to feel. I am getting better at reading her moods. I am getting better at interpreting her silence as well as her tone in texts and messages. It is a different type of communication.

It helps manage the sundowning. It helps manage her needs and wants. She may have dementia that impacts her memory and executive function but she feels, just like you and I. When she goes silent it is a clue. When she starts texting with agitation, it is a clue. I am learning this new way of communication and it is helping both of us.

HartFelt wishes that you and your loved enjoy this change of seasons.

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