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How do we meet Dad's emotional needs?

Dad is in memory care and I'm just wondering how other people deal with emotional mayhem of good days and 'off' days Dad has. Communication is difficult on off days, is just sitting with him enough or should we do something every time I visit?
Status: Open    May 27, 2015 - 07:55 PM

Caregiving, Dementia

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Jun 02, 2015 - 03:57 PM

I have chosen to answer this question because I too am in this same situation with my own Dad. Intellectually and experientially I know people living with dementia have good days and "off days". But knowing this, of course has not made it any easier for me in my "being his daughter role". My emotions and feelings seem to swing every time I walk in the door of the facility and observe what kind of day he is having.

I have learned to be present and go with whatever is happening with him at that given time. If he is having an " off day" I verbally recognize it with him and give him more love and hugs. I actually limit conversation or questions. I make subtle attempts at what I know would be calming and comforting that is relative to him, such as an outside stroll or sit, putting a warm sweater on him, slow and soft background music, ice cream, just sit close to him and gently pat or rub his arm or shoulder. All the while I am closely attentive and observant as to determining if anything had changed in his structured routine or physical status that may have contributed to an "off day" and report to or question the staff as needed.

For myself to keep from getting down, I have a team around me that supports me, prays for me, and listens to me when I need to talk. I also have a list of little things that bring me joy that I will implement when needed.



May 31, 2015 - 11:19 AM

Just sitting on an "off" day is fine.
If you arrive and find it is an off day it might be enough to get him a paper or book, a cup of coffee and get him settled in a chair and leave. Tell him you will be back when he feels better. No stress on either part.
We all have days when we would just want to sit and do nothing. When I try to do it though I have laundry, dishes, weeding.
Maybe his "off" day is just his way of recharging so he will have a good day tomorrow.
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