When you have a family member who has dementia, is there anything you can do to help them feel purpose, comfort, or joy?

There's a lot you can do. Recently, Heritage at The Colonnade, a memory care facility in O’Fallon, IL near St. Louis, held a three-hour educational program for families on how to make life better for people with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementia-related illnesses.

Nationally acclaimed speaker and dementia care advocate Kim Warchol, OTR/L, presented the talk on how family caregivers can offer the best support and celebrate the lives of their loved ones. Based on her Warchol Best-Abilities Care Model℠, Kim discussed a variety of compassionate approaches to care, including how important it is to focus on a loved one’s remaining abilities.

While your loved one's disease requires you to cope with their decline in function, it's also essential to recognize that there are still things your family member can do. For example, your loved one can express emotions. Your loved one can help choose their clothes for the day. Your loved one can communicate happiness, sadness, likes, and dislikes. Maybe your loved one can still eat on his own. And if not, he can participate in eating with verbal cues. Most importantly, your family member can understand when you let them know the love or care you feel for them.

Shifting from thinking "My mom can no longer care for herself" to "There are things my mom can still do" not only helps your loved one feel a sense of purpose and achieve a sense of accomplishment, it helps you see the person in a new light. And it helps you feel hope and comfort.

By hosting events like Kim's presentation and offering abilities-based, person-centered care, Heritage at the Colonnade is leading the way in creating a Dementia Capable Society. This is a community that we all need to work together to build—one in which people from all walks of life have the education and the skills to help people with dementia feel valued, secure, and loved. One in which we all have the knowledge and the readiness to change the way we think and shift the way we care.

Want to know more about what Kim has to say to families? Check out the video below and keep an eye here on our website for future recordings of Kim's presentations.