Like many others, I have always loved receiving cards and “love letters” at different moments in life. They are treasures that can be tucked away and enjoyed throughout the years. Hand written letters seem to have gone by the wayside, even though I think we would all agree, receiving a “love letter” brings us a remarkable feeling of joy.
I am sure there are many of you on a journey with a loved one, parents or grandparents, diagnosed with Dementia, a decline in mental ability severe enough to interfere with daily life. It is so important that we help them retain their sense of identity and feelings of self worth. Dementia often leaves the person feeling isolated, lonely and particularly frustrated with their memory loss. Add to this, a feeling of losing their sense of purpose. It is important we share with them how much we understand these feelings and let them know they are and always will be held in high esteem and have your love and support along the way. Having this conversation often is good, even though it is “in the moment”, and most likely will be forgotten. A loved one with dementia still needs to feel their life is meaningful so how special it would be to receive a “love letter” from their family member or a dear friend. This letter is a method to let them know how much you love them and how that has not changed. It can speak of their character and what you have always admired about them. Recall special memories from the past that have included their grand children and even great grand children, calling them by name.
Share your understanding of their frustration with the memory loss. Assure them they are not alone. Our loved ones with dementia need to feel respected and valued for who they are now as well as who they were in the past.
Also, while we are abiding with the Safe at Home Order at this time, now would be a perfect time to send a letter to your loved ones that are alone in their homes and the ones residing in nursing homes.
Each letter is a gift of time, thought and effort. Writing these letters can help ensure that you do not leave things left unsaid. It can be posted anywhere you feel they may see throughout the day, to be read over and over. Imagine the joy that will be felt each time they read your words, your tribute to how much they truly mean to their loved ones.