For those of you who are visiting your loved ones after a long time and don’t know what to say or do

This is for all of you who have been separated from your loved ones for so long due to the Covid restrictions, or any other reasons. Please be kind to yourselves and don’t be too anxious about how to be when visiting your loved ones who may have dementia or other neurodegenerative conditions or mental health struggles. Before you visit, feel your inner strength, sit for 5 minutes and listen to your breathing, then take three long breaths, inhaling and exhaling slowly and take your time.

If your loved one struggles to communicate with their voice or understand what you are saying, please try not to be too concerned – be aware that we all communicate on a much higher level, a level that transcends how our brain works and our lips speak. We communicate so much through our feelings and emotions, so try and stay calm, connect with your inner self through listening to your breath. When you see the person you love, let them feel your calm energy, you may not need to say anything. You may want to think about what you have in common and what connects you – think of your senses, maybe take in an object that they may touch and feel that may be familiar, maybe wear a scent that they may remember, or share food and drink that holds meaning.

Don’t try too hard, just be. Don’t always look for an outward response from your loved one, if you don’t see or feel anything, it doesn’t mean that they don’t sense that you are there, it just may take a little more time for them to show it. If they respond in other ways that may upset you, try and be kind to yourselves, it may be a deep defence mechanism that they are experiencing. You know deep down, that love conquers all, so you may need to dig a little deep for yourselves and your loved ones, remember be kind to yourself. You are amazing.