When you were young, one of the last things on your mind may have been eventually having to care for someone with Alzheimer’s, dementia, or some other memory-related disease. Depending on how young you were, you may not even have known that these types of illnesses existed. As you aged, however, so did your parents and grandparents. Along with aging, sometimes memory-related issues arise. For retirement age adults in America, no fewer than 5 million are dealing with this type of condition at some level. Right along with them, their loved ones have to deal with it as well.
We’re going to offer some communication tips. Dementia-diagnosed individuals, and those who care for them, should benefit greatly from the advice included here.
Dealing With Dementia
It takes practice, respect, trial, and error, and more, to navigate conversations with dementia patients in a successful manner. Don’t be discouraged or surprised if you don’t master it immediately. When it comes to asking and answering questions, it’s also helpful to comprehend the dos and don’ts.
The Dos Of Successful Communication
The following are positive actions where communication with dementia or Alzheimer’s affected person is concerned:
- Even when it’s extremely difficult, remember to be respectful and patient.
- Particularly if words aren’t easily understood by your loved one, cues that are nonverbal should be used (for example, when asking them which they prefer, point to tea or coffee).
- To connect with memories, focusing on aromas that are familiar is a good tool. Try to engage your loved one in activities that involve more than one sense. Concentrate on those that, in the past, you’ve enjoyed together (i.e., family recipe/dish preparation, singing a favorite song, dancing, etc.).
- Limit things that are distracting (i.e., children playing in the room, music or TV in the background, etc.).
- Especially if you’re speaking by video or phone, talk slowly and clearly.
- To keep the person’s focus and attention, rather than long conversations, concentrate on more frequent, shorter talks.
- Familiarize yourself with the person’s nonverbal language. Pay attention to body movements and listen carefully.
- As a tension breaker, use humor. Laughter truly is the best medicine sometimes!
- Bend down to meet the person’s eyes if they are sitting in a wheelchair and never speak to them from the back of the chair. Meet their eye level whenever possible when addressing them.
- Limit choices and keep questions simple. In fact, keep all sentences short.
For Successful Communication, Don’t Do This
These are practices you should stay away from when trying to communicate with someone who has dementia or Alzheimer’s:
- If the person you’re speaking to does not understand reality, don’t argue with them when it comes to statements that reflect reality. To reduce their anxiety, redirect the conversation.
- When the person is having trouble remembering a word, don’t complete their sentence. Give them a chance to come up with it on their own.
- Bad days and good days will be experienced by your loved one. Don’t dismiss their feelings. Familiarize yourself with their moods and the differences between them. Acknowledge the fact that they’re having a rough day or a good day when you notice.
- Don’t say, “Hey… guess who this is…”, while you are pointing at a photo. Instead, regarding the location or person in the photo, reminisce with your loved one. In fact, go through the photos in the home and label them regarding relationships, the names of the people in the photos, locations, etc.
- Don’t yell or raise your voice when speaking to your loved one. It could cause them embarrassment because it shows frustration. If this occurs, they may just shut down. Anger and dementia frequently go hand-in-hand for both the caregiver and the patient! If you can both remain calm, all the better.
- Don’t offer multiple options or ask a lot of questions consecutively. It can overwhelm and confuse someone with dementia. Give them simple choices (coffee or tea) and keep questions at a minimum.
Rely on Rittenhouse Village At Lehigh Valley When It Comes to Communication With Dementia/Alzheimer’s Afflicted Individuals
With SHINE Memory Care, we use proven data to scientifically devise methods that facilitate engagement and comprehension in your loved one. To provide the utmost respect and care for all residents, our team members at Rittenhouse Village At Lehigh Valley have years of experience and are qualified.
Contact us at 484.212.6577 to find out how your loved one can benefit from our memory care program. Better yet, use our convenient online form to schedule a tour or ask questions.