February 5, 2019 3:42 pm

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:

Try to:

  1. Use objects that help remind the person of your love (photos, an object, etc.)
  2. Try to use stories that bring the person to a happy place and remind them of the ones they love.
  3. 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.
  4. 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)

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