The L.O.V.E Approach for Families and Friends promotes well-being and a life of quality, by nurturing and creating meaningful relationships with someone living with dementia, especially in early signs of cognitive decline. By practicing the four simple concepts to Listen, Observe, Validate and Engage with your family member or friend, you can experience positive changes in your relationships and your loved one will continue to feel purpose and meaning in their life, and maintain independence longer.
Using these four concepts will enhance your ability to: listen and understand what the person with dementia is trying to express, observe changes in their emotional reactions, validate the person's efforts to express feelings, and become actively engaged to create a more positive experience/environment for the person with dementia and yourself.
A person living with dementia can not physically, cognitively or emotionally adapt their communication and comprehensive skills, but we can change our communication techniques by learning new ways to talk and listen and help the person feel valued, loved, and understood.
Learning a new skill takes practice. Enhancing your communication skills to better interact with a person with dementia also takes practice and patience, but is well worth the effort as interactions will become more pleasant, meaningful and reduce stress for everyone. By gaining a greater awareness of how we talk and listen, relationships are enhanced and connections become stronger.
Understanding that people with dementia have difficulty with thinking skills and retaining new information (repeating questions that were just answered), or is unable to retrieve an old memory (such as using a tv remote), we can approach the person with more empathy and compassion. Taking the word "remember" out of your vocabulary can reduce the feeling of shame and embarrassment the person will show, when the person is unable to remember or retrieve information.
If the person has aphasia (an acquired language impairment), information given to the person may not be received accurately (receptive language) or information the person is expressing (expressive language) may have difficulty finding words and this creates even more frustration. Image the stress you feel when your loved one repeats the same question over and over. Now just image the confusion, embarrassment, and shame the person feels when they hear "I already told you." Not only has the person forgotten the answer they receive earlier, they didn't recall they had even asked the question in the first place. It is very confusing for a person with memory loss to not get an answer to a simple question. Now image how this can lead to constant conflicts.
Promoting a life of quality for the person living with dementia and their family members and friends is the foundation of the L.O.V.E. Approach. By listening, observing, validating, and engaging, especially in physical activities, intellectual stimulation, socialization, spiritual support, and participating in music and expressive arts, cognitive decline may slow, and lessen the frustrations experienced by everyone. Staying engaged in life is key for living a life of quality, for the person, their family members, and friends.
Engaging in Life with L.O.V.E. is a simple approach for communicating without conflicts.
Vicky Pitner, CTRS, CDP, has been a champion for supporting people living with disabilities, such as dementia, Alzheimer's disease and other neurocognitive disorders, and their families for over 40 years in both clinical and community settings.
Addressing the dementia-related symptoms of early is instrumental in maintaining a life of quality after a diagnoses of "dementia" for both the person and the family. The word "dementia" has been and continues to be portrayed as a hopeless, and debilitating life as the person is "suffering" from dementia, rather than "living" with a chronic disability.
The dual stigma for the individual and the family is the most significant barrier for the individual or the family to seek help or create a life of well-being. Vicky believes with better education and awareness of what dementia is, and is not, the stigma can be reduced, and families can become empowered and friends can stay connected and be a part of the person's life.
Vicky developed "Engaging in Life with L.O.V.E.: The Friends and Family Approach for Supporting Someone Living with Living with Dementia” to help break through the stigma and fear and keep friends and families in touch and learn an approach that will promote well-being and shared moments of joy.
Certified Therapeutic Recreation Professional (CTRS)
Certified Dementia Practitioner (CDP)
Certified Montessori Dementia Professional (CMSP)
Trained Health Rhythm Drumming Facilitator
Certified Holistic Life Coach Spencer Institute
Eden Alternative Associate Training
We are located on the beautiful Nature Coast of Florida and serves Tampa Bay and Beyond!
Just a phone call or email away!
It's time to stop tippy-toeing around the stigma of dementia and start living an engaging life!