After a diagnosis of dementia, it may feel overwhelming to try and find happiness in everyday life. However, just because someone has a dementia diagnosis does not mean that they are unable to experience the feeling of joy. One way that this can be done is through completing activities together that your loved one previously enjoyed prior to their memory loss. Examples include cooking and baking, crafts, music, art, or other hobbies. Although an individual with dementia may not be able to perform these activities to the same level as prior to their memory loss, they are still able to obtain a level of enjoyment and satisfaction from completing a familiar activity. It is important to help modify the activity to the level of the individual with memory loss so that they don’t experience frustration. It’s also very important not to assume that they are unable to do things anymore, just because they have memory loss. Keep in mind that if the individual with memory loss is becoming frustrated with the activity, do not continue and find something else to do to prevent the feeling of failure and ensure success.
There are many other ways to bring joy to a person living with memory loss and their caregiver or loved one. Another activity that may be received well is spending time reminiscing or looking through photo albums or memory books. Depending on the severity of the dementia that is experienced, it can be enjoyable to talk about an individual’s career, childhood, vacations, or other special memories. If the individual becomes frustrated that they can’t remember something, gently change the topic and redirect towards other things that bring happiness.
Other simple ideas include taking an individual suffering with memory loss out to lunch or for dessert, outdoors to enjoy nature, to a religious service or event that they enjoy, or visiting with family and friends. The most important thing to remember is that even though someone with memory loss may not remember the specific occasion, the feelings of joy and happiness will still be experienced.
Dementia includes much more than memory loss. Brain changes can cause other problems like trouble with language, communication, focus, and reasoning. While memory loss is certainly something to look out for, there are other symptoms that could also mean a person might have dementia.