If you have a loved one who suffers from dementia, then you would have an idea how difficult and painful it is to witness its effect. Dementia care is also a bit complex and challenging.
Things are easier to handle during the onset when the forgetfulness is still minor. However, when the condition progresses into severe impairment and memory loss, then that’s where the real challenge kicks in. It will come to a point when even something as simple as communicating with your loved one would take a real effort.
Connecting with and understanding your loved one with dementia can have a “healing” effect both on the them and you
The Importance of Communication in Dementia Care
Communication proves to be helpful for patients with dementia. Connecting with and understanding your loved one with dementia has a “healing” effect, both on them and you. It is an essential component of dementia care. With this, we will share some of the common tips on how to effectively communicate to people with dementia.
call the person by their name
Communication Strategies for Dementia
If you have a loved one who has mild to severe dementia, these strategies might prove helpful:
Prepare yourself for the worst
- Accept the inevitable. Dementia is a condition that becomes worse in time. The person will gradually become more forgetful to the point that it will be difficult for them to understand and communicate with others. So being patient and understanding are vital components of dementia care.
Find a quiet place to talk with them
- People with dementia can be easily distracted. So it’s important that you minimize distractions like noise as much as possible. Also, it helps if you speak naturally and clearly. Speak loudly, but keep it calm and warm.
Don’t “baby talk” them
- This is one common mistake that people make when talking to people with dementia. Aside from being condescending, this will not prove fruitful. It’s always important to be respectful.
Use non-verbal cues
- Use non-verbal cues like keeping a smile or maintaining eye contact. This is super important for people with an advanced dementia.
Honest talk is important in dementia care
- Keep things personal and intimate. Refer to the person by their name more than “you” or “he/she/they”.
- Talk about relatable topics, especially the past because patients with dementia usually remember remote experiences and memories.
- Talk about one thing or topic at a time.
- Being attentive. Don’t interrupt the person when they’re talking.
- If you don’t understand what the person is saying, just politely let them know. But not all the time. To keep the conversation going, it’s important that you don’t correct every mistake or inaccurate statement that the patient makes. Just be patient and as much as a possible, don’t get frustrated. Know what you are up against and understand that dementia patients have ups and downs.
Communication Keys in Dementia Care
Be patient, attentive and understanding. These are important keys in dementia care. When you are armed with these, then caring for and communicating with your loved one or patient will be more rewarding.