When you see a senior parent with Alzheimer’s that you haven’t seen in awhile, it can be a little overwhelming. Even if you regularly talk to your senior loved one on the phone, you might not be prepared for what visiting them is in life. If your senior loved one has Alzheimer’s care because you live too far away to help them regularly, it’s a good idea to talk to the Alzheimer’s care provider before you visit to find out how your loved one is doing. They should give you more information about what to expect. But in general, when you visit a senior parent with Alzheimer’s you should know that:
Your Senior Parent May Not Know You
When you arrive, you may not get a big welcome. It’s possible that while your senior loved one recognizes you a little and knows they love you, they don’t know who you are in relation to them. It’s a good idea to introduce yourself as you enter the room, to give them a clue who you are. That way, they aren’t struggling to remember who you are while you wait expectantly. Let them know who you are as you walk in, and that will get the visit started on a positive note.
They Might Not Make Sense To You
Some of the things they say to you or in the context of a conversation may not make sense to you. But it makes sense to them where they are mentally. Your senior parent might think that it’s 20 years ago, and to them it doesn’t make sense that you’re older than they remember. Take your cues from them and guide the conversation based on what they are comfortable with. If they say something that doesn’t make sense to you, don’t question it, just go with it.
You Should Keep Your Tone Cheerful No Matter What
Seniors with Alzheimer’s pay close attention to the tone and body language of the people around them. They will think they are doing wrong or forgetting something by your tone and body language. Ensure your tone is cheerful and approving, and your body language is open. Then they will be relaxed and confident that they aren’t doing anything wrong or making any mistakes. It’s important that you always keep your tone cheerful or neutral, and not sad, angry, or frustrated.
You Are Giving Them Joy
As their Alzheimer’s progresses, your senior parent may not know you at all. Likewise, you might wonder if you’re doing more harm than good by visiting. But you’re always doing well by visiting. You are giving your senior parent moments of joy, and that’s the most valuable thing you can give them. Even if they don’t know who you are to them, they know they love you. Making them feel loved and important is the best thing you can do for a senior parent with Alzheimer’s.