Help Your Parents Navigate Dementia | Q&A: Self Care & Mindful Loving Touch

hi everyone I am back my name is Laura
Smothers – Chu and wanted to say happy last week of December we are almost through
the holidays and I wanted to bring you the last video in the self care series
so if you have not seen my past videos one of my fellow daughters or other
daughters like me she asked me what is a cheap not time-consuming way to provide
self-care for herself and so in this series of a bunch of how many videos
I’ve done maybe five this is my last one and it’s really about the power of touch
so in these past videos I’ve talked about being more mindful when you’re
running outside and interacting with nature when you’re reminiscing about the
holidays in the past and how that can change your mindset for the good and
basically it’s really important that you are also getting that universal language
of touch and not only does that help you but it also helps your caregiving parent
and your parent with dementia so I was actually going to talk about a different
mindful topic today but I remembered my visit with my parents a couple of days
ago and the touch was just so important let me just back up a little bit so I
have a social enterprise called befriended heart and it is for other
daughters who have a parent with dementia and are also supporting the
caregiving parent in caring for the person with dementia so basically I live
long distance from my parents my mom takes care of my dad on a daily basis
but of course I provide the other support since I am an only child so that
being said my dad when he was first diagnosed about five years ago the
first thing to go were his language skills and so that’s called aphasia so
he was not able to think of the words he wanted to say and he wasn’t able to get
those out so very early on in my dad’s diagnosis I you know I guess realize the
power of touch and how that is a universal language it is really the
basic thing that we all do with each other to communicate and have that
personal connection and you know I personally believe as I said in a couple
of other videos that you know I really believe that the person with dementia is
still in there and really what’s the best way to communicate with them
you know other than words but with touch because that really is a universal love
language and I will put a link up here to the love languages that I talked
about five love languages if your caregiving parent doesn’t want help
because I think that this definitely connects to that but I wanted to talk
about some of the ways that I was able to provide loving touch to my dad with
dementia and also my caregiving mom you know during the holidays this year so as
I mentioned also another previous video if you haven’t seen this was the last
Christmas that my parents are going to be together in the same house before
they both moved closer to me so my dad is going to a great memory care facility
and my mom is going to go to a newly built independent living apartment so as
I’m excited about that there is also some sorrow there there’s some anxiety
what my dad does not know yet exactly what the plans are my mom and I of
course are very very informed and so what my mom and I were trying to do was
to try to have the best Christmas that we could
you know realizing the circumstances that we were going to be my parents are
gonna be moving next year so anyway I would say that probably all of these
different ways of physical touch are applicable to both the parent with
dementia and your care getting a parent but I will say with my caregiving parent
probably the best thing I did this year to manage my mom stress and my own
stress was to hire a home caregiver basically someone that is paid by the
family who comes in provides companionship I know our caregiver cooks
for my parents and my mom actually increased that to five days a week and
she said that it’s been so helpful and it really has increased their their
quality of life so I did actually do an interview with my friend Dr. Natali who
is from Dementia Careblazers she also has a very well-known YouTube channel
within the dementia industry and I did talk all about what the steps were that
I took to hire a home caregiver and really you know create all the stops to
prevent any funny business from happening I do actually have a personal
story with that so I will actually also link that here too I hope that you check
out that interview and when you check out that video you’ll also get free
access to my ten step to home care guide so I hope you enjoy that and so for the
yeah touch options basically I noticed that my dad has started to do these
behaviors where he is you know scratching his arm a lot
scratching his head and from my research I found that that sometimes comes from
boredom so knowing what I did about the physical touch I started to hold his
hand in the car I saw that it would stop the bit the
behavior you know the itching behavior and it would also you know he started to
warm up my hands a couple of days ago which really made me feel good and as we
know this video is also about self care for us and so the physical touch helps
us as well so I was holding his hand also I know um you know my dad is
watching more TV lately than he used to and so because I can’t necessarily
engage with him using words you know I put my head on his shoulder and I could
tell that he really enjoyed that he smiled you know and so while he is more
verbal at this time as we know dementia is not necessarily consistent and so
just getting that reaction from him I could tell that he enjoyed this physical
touch also hugs are huge so um you know hugs
actually if there I believe a study has shown that if it’s 20 seconds or longer
it really creates oxytocin it creates dopamine both of those are happy
chemicals and it actually decreases cortisol so as you can imagine someone
with dementia is likely pretty stressed out a lot of the time because especially
in my dad’s case you know he can’t express himself the way that he used to
so the hugs you know lasting more than 20
seconds you can do that with you’re a parent with dementia and you can also do
it with the caregiving parent so I’ve been focusing on that as well and not
only does it increase oxytocin for the person that you’re hugging oxytocin
dopamine and lowers cortisol for the person that you’re hugging but it also
does that for you too so I highly recommend that I know that some of you
have parents that you know have dementia that causes your appearance to lash out
or or hit you and of course your you know you can try to put your hand on
their shoulder may be a very you know less I guess in vase
way of providing your a loving touch but you could also just wait until after
they’re not agitated anymore and you know provide that touch on their
shoulder or a hug also holding hands as I mentioned is really helpful too so I
think that is about it I hope you find this helpful let me know what type of
physical touch your parent prefers whether it’s the primary caregiver or
the parent with dementia and I would love to see that in the comments below
finally I wanted to tell you about a interview that I’m actually holding next
month with my friend and guest expert Julie went she is a nutritionist and she
is specializing right now in delaying dementia or basically increasing
cognitive reserve in our brains so that we as daughters of a parent with
dementia will be less likely to get dementia so I hope that you will join me
next month and if you subscribe now you will be the first one to see that video
so I hope that you have a great New Year’s Eve and I look forward to
providing you some interviews next year thanks so much bye

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