Personal Interactions Benefit Memory Care Residents

The benefits of personal interactions in memory care centers have been researched extensively and cannot be emphasized strongly enough. People who have dementia experience cognitive challenges and might not be reaching their fullest potential when they don’t receive this kind of care. Focused, person-centered attention from the caregivers at The Philomena can create and nurture positive environments that lead to better outcomes and quality of life.

The Philomena | Seniors doing activities together
InputUX –

Understanding Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia*, a decline in mental ability that impacts one’s day-to-day activities. Symptoms can include:

  • Difficulty remembering appointments
  • Issues with completing tasks like meal preparation and paying bills
  • Wandering and getting lost
  • Problems with short-term memory

All forms of dementia are progressive and generally lead to behavior changes and marked confusion. Seniors who have Alzheimer’s usually find that they are unable to recall new information when the condition first becomes apparent. Over time, the physical symptoms can include difficulties with walking, speaking, and swallowing.

Age is one of the greatest risk factors, but there are hundreds of thousands of people in the U.S. with Alzheimer’s who are under age 65. Dementia is not directly caused by aging – it results from damaged brain cells. If you’ve ever visited a senior community and seen residents with dementia not interacting socially, it may have been easy to see how much they might have benefited from some thoughtful conversation.

A Lack of Personal Interactions Leads to Isolation

People who have dementia experience personality changes as their symptoms progress. It makes it harder for them to engage with others socially and can feel embarrassed and experience significant anxiety. Some begin isolating themselves, which only compounds the problem. A trained memory care center caregiver should recognize this and make every effort to help these residents foster self-confidence and a better sense of well-being through personal interactions. Living and social environments can be purposefully manipulated to accommodate evolving needs and reduce negative emotions. The goals here are to help these residents feel more comfortable with themselves and others.

Guidelines for Personal Interactions With Memory Care Residents

Memory care services, like those offered in The Retreat, have trained caregivers with skills and experience that help residents and support family members and friends. The first principle for personal interactions is to speak softly and slowly, without fast or complicated phrases that might be misunderstood or missed altogether. Here are a few more guidelines:

  • Maintain eye contact
  • Use the resident’s name often while talking
  • Stay focused on everything being said
  • Be prepared to repeat things
  • Do not be surprised if the resident becomes emotional. Avoid angry responses and be empathetic
  • Point to objects that are being referred to

Timing and Location Are Also Important

No one can feel 100% all of the time, so communities that provide memory care in Texas have team members who plan social visits and events when their residents are feeling up for it. For example, seniors with Alzheimer’s can have more energy and focus earlier in the day. They also tend to thrive in calmer, uncluttered environments.

Personal Interactions Can Be Fun, Too

Dementia residents often enjoy playing video and board games and in some cases, these activities can improve executive function. Personal interactions like these can improve their planning and organizational skills and the fun experiences may help alleviate anxiety and depression. Caregivers can assist in putting together puzzles, playing Bingo or checkers, and teaching them to use memory apps like Mindmate and Cognifit.

Once a memory care resident starts participating in more personal interactions, they may become more open to socializing with others and show improvements elsewhere; many show improved self-care skills. The keys are to understand their conditions and feelings, to show respect, and to have patience.

Personal Interactions Get Prioritized at The Philomena’s Memory Care

Deciding on the right memory care community is one of the most important decisions you’ll ever need to make. Contact The Philomena in Kyle, Texas, to learn all about our uniquely Austin assisted living care and memory services.

*This article should not replace medical advice. Talk with your doctor regarding any issues you may experience, especially if you suspect memory loss, dementia, or Alzheimer’s.

This website uses cookies as outlined in our Privacy Policy.

Skip to content