How do you communicate with someone who has dementia?
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There’s nothing more challenging than caring for a loved one with dementia. People with dementia have a brain disorder that makes them incapable of remembering things, thinking clearly or communicating with their friends and family.
They are also prone to mood swings and depression. It’s very hard for those with this condition to take care of themselves. If you’re a caregiver, you may be interested in these tips for communicating with someone who has dementia.
- Tip #1: Be clear in your communications – Use simple words and sentences when you talk to someone with dementia. Speak slowly and calmly, with a reassuring voice. Never raise your voice, and maintain a low pitch. Even if your loved one does not understand you the first time, repeat the same message or question again till he or she does. Rephrase the question if they don’t understand even after a few attempts. While referring to someone or a place, use names, instead of pronouns – as people with dementia get confused with pronouns such as he, she or they.
- Tip #2: Get their attention softly – Do you have the attention of the person you’re talking to? Don’t get upset when they fail to recognize you. Remind them who you are and how you are related to them, so that they can focus on what you’re saying to them. Be calm and understanding throughout, you should never come across as irritated or impatient.
- Tip #3: Make sure that they understand your questions – Keep your questions simple. Ask one question at a time, and don’t ask open-ended questions. Dementia patients get confused when presented with too many choices. Show them the choices with cues and visual prompts – for example, ask them, “Would you like to watch TV NOW or LATER”?
- Tip #4: Be patient. Don’t point out their mistakes – Dementia patients are generally confused and unsure of themselves. They recall things from the past that never occurred, or may mistake you for someone else. Don’t try to convince them that they are wrong when they make such mistakes. Pay attention to their feelings, rather than to factual inaccuracies – and be affectionate and understanding. Hold their hands, touch and hug them, and praise them, to make them feel comforted and reassured.
- Tip #5: Make sure that you don’t put them in stressful situations – Diffuse any potentially stressful situation in time. People with dementia can become anxious and frustrated very quickly. So when this happens, learn how to redirect their attention to something that they find more comforting.
If you’re caring for someone with dementia, you should talk to a health professional or seek help from a local support group of caregivers who have a lot of experience with caring for someone with this condition. If you feel you require more support, do get in touch with http://www.RightFitSenior.com, a senior placement company that serves the Beaverton/Portland area.