The word love means many things to many people. The definition of love is summed up by three components; passion, closeness, and commitment. Research has shown that having a positive support system has many positive benefits such as a higher level of well-being, better coping skills and a longer and healthier life. Love releases a feel-good chemical, Oxytocin, in our body. Your loved one may find it difficult to recognize familiar faces; however, they still hold an “emotional memory” that can be triggered by the ones they love. Fostering more interactions with familiar friends and family stimulates feelings of familiarity, happiness, comfort, and a sense of security. A few studies even suggest that the power of love and a good support system decrease isolation and reduce symptoms of dementia, depression and anxiety.
Remember that love means many things to many people; however, feeling a sense of love may enhance the quality of life for your loved one. Here are a few ideas:
- Use objects that help remind the person of your love (photos, an object, etc.)
- Try to use stories that bring the person to a happy place and remind them of the ones they love.
- Send mail from time to time. A short letter letting them know you love them, or a memorable photo can make for good comfort items that remind them of your love.
- Take advantage of holidays that allow you to express love.
Remember that the power of love can make a difference in the lives of those living with memory loss. Your challenge of the month: send your loved one a Valentine’s day card.
By Joshua Freitas, M.Ed., BC-DEd, CAEd (Vice President of Program Development) and Rachel Christian, DP-NC (Executive Director | CERTUS at Orange City)