Throughout our lives, we interact with friends, family and strangers on a daily basis, and for someone with dementia it’s important that they continue to have these sorts of meaningful encounters, even as their disease progresses. While it is true that your loved one may have trouble retaining memories or remembering his or her own loved ones, he or she can still recognize the attention, feelings and moods of others. Socialization is important for all of us. But for those experiencing any form of dementia, it takes on an even more critical role.
Put within the context of an individual experiencing dementia, socialization allows for human and environmental interactions.Some interactions are intended to spark the senses, such as experiencing a new location, smelling fresh flowers in a garden, or a more tactile experience such as getting their hands into a soft dough that they knead. All are important to provide someone with dementia with a sense of connectivity.
Continuing to have meaningful encounters and socializing is necessary for anyone suffering from or is at risk of developing dementia, and it is known that a daily dose of social interactions can help to improve cognitive function. Seniors with dementia tend to be at a higher risk of social isolation and depression, and are always in need of support from their loved ones.
Socialization provides a sense of normal structure and order to the life of an individual with memory loss. It helps stimulate that part of the brain which connects us to time and place, rather than experiencing a disconnected continuum with no start and end points.
At One Kenton Place socialization for our residents is woven into every aspect of our daily activities and programs. Our residents are always engaging with others – whether it’s through activities, or one-on-one with our highly skilled recreation staff.
Socialization, when provided in a safe, structured manner, can make a positive difference in the quality of life for those people impaired by dementia. Making sure that your loved one is receiving a steady, yet fresh exposure to opportunities for socialization is important to keep them as healthy and connected as possible. Do this consistently, and you will notice the difference. Keep showering your loved ones with immense amounts of love and care. Look them in the eye, hold their hand, smile and talk in soothing tones. They will appreciate it, and it will most definitely go a long way!