Dementia describes a group of symptoms affecting the memory, thinking and reasoning skills, and social abilities severely enough to interfere with daily living. It obstructs neuron connections and inhibits information from being shared within the brain to the rest of the body. As a result, even the smallest of conversations can be very difficult with someone who has dementia.
If your senior loved one suffers from dementia, here are a few tips to help you communicate with them.
Be calm, encouraging and comforting. Dementia increases anxiety, grief and uncertainty. The inability to create connections between everyday objects and events can be upsetting and terrifying for a senior with dementia. While sitting with your loved one, observe their facial features and body language. If they become anxious, talk about things you know he or she always loved, their hobbies, favorite places or people. It doesn’t matter if the memories connect, it matters that you are talking about things that are comforting and pleasant. Encourage them to continue explaining his or her thoughts, no matter what.
Speak in simple sentences. Forget trying to take on complex discussions or lengthy stories. Dementia steals the brain’s ability to make connections and follow long trains of thought. Talk about things in short paragraphs. Looking at a picture book, magazine, or anything interesting with your loved one can be very supportive for them.
Do not get irritated. Repeat information or questions as necessary. If the person doesn’t respond or ignores you, wait a moment. Then ask again. If they ask something repeatedly, try to make your response a bit clearer to help them understand, but make sure you do not get angry. They can pick up on that, which may make them even more disconnected and anxious. Try to find a medium in speech. Do not talk to them like they are a child unless they truly need things described that way when their disease progresses.
Make it a fun talk. Try to laugh together about misinterpretations and faults. Humor can bring you closer together and reduce both yours and their pressure and stress.
If you are unable to take care of your loved one’s needs, contact us to get the best In Home Care services in Tacoma, WA. We have a team of highly experienced caregivers who can provide them the right level of care they need. For more information, feel free to call us @ 253-655-7253.