When caring for a person with alzheimer’s or dementia, there are several techniques that may be helpful. The ability to connect with someone you care for by joining in a similar action in which you desire being copied is an intervention called Mirroring.
This technique allows a care giver to identify feelings that may be shared by imitating that behavior. In as little as a few minutes of sharing an action, the caregiver can observe the response in order to determine possible feelings or emotions behind the action being displayed.
When the action is correctly identified, and copied, often the undesired action can be decreased, helping to lessen potential anxiety. The caregiver can use mirroring to demonstrate the actions or behaviors they desire to be imitated. Mirroring can work with most any behavior, whether eating, drinking, performing an activity of daily living such as washing or dressing, ambulating, or performing an enjoyable activity.
Acknowledging the emotion someone with dementia is feeling and then offering a comforting solution through techniques such as touch, reminiscing or distraction can prove useful. As the caregiver and person with memory loss connect through the same actions, the caregiver can successfully mirror the desired action in an effort to teach the person with dementia as the mirrored activities connect and complement one another.