As your loved one experiences memory loss and can no longer make decisions with confidence, they begin to depend on you more and more. However, dependency takes a toll on self-esteem.
To balance this delicate situation, particularly during the early stages of memory loss, encourage your loved one to cultivate life skills. These are skills we all develop and use - things that provide a sense of purpose, accomplishment and individuality.
What activities did your loved one once enjoy? Did they have hobbies or an occupational skill they can still use? Life skills may include painting, sculpting, storytelling, gardening, caring for pets or simply handling household chores. Look for skills that tap into your loved one’s implicit or procedural memory. Once you find a life skill that your loved one treasured, encourage them to use it regularly.
Get your loved one involved in an interest group for older people, or urge them to lead one of their own. Encourage them to use their life skills whenever possible – not only will it stimulate them mentally, but it will also give their days a new purpose.
Meal times help carers connect with a loved one and nurture their spirit as well as their body. They also provide an opportunity to engage life skills and help your loved one to maintain a sense of security, purpose and meaning.