Communicating with your loved one who has dementia can prove to be a difficult and trying experience. Building strong communication skills ensures that your relationship with your elderly loved one doesn’t suffer while you both navigate the changes that come with this disease. Keep in mind that your loved one’s ability to communicate and retain new information will slowly decline over time. So, be patient and remember to always convey a message of love. Often, it isn’t what you say but how you say it that makes a difference. Below, you’ll find a list of our top five tips for communicating more effectively with your loved one who has dementia.
Make sure you have their attention. Background noise can be extremely distracting. Make sure to turn the TV down or move to a quieter location. Address them by name and try to maintain eye contact. If they’re seated, sit down. Put yourself on their level.
Ask simple questions. Use simple words, speak slowly and always speak in a soothing tone. Never raise your voice or speak louder than necessary. Ask one question at a time and refrain from open ended questions or giving too many options in an effort not to overwhelm. Yes or no questions work best. Visual aids are often helpful.
Avoid trying to convince them they are wrong. Your senior family member or friend with dementia may get details confused or remember things that never happened. Trying to change their perception or correct them could only agitate them more. Instead, respond in comforting ways. Try to remember that the feelings they are experiencing are real to them and should be treated as such.
When all else fails, redirect. If other methods are not successful in soothing your loved one, sometimes changing the subject is your next best move. Acknowledge how they are feeling then suggest a short walk or going to get something to eat.
Ask them about their past. Ask them about their childhood or early adult years. Your loved one may not remember recent events, but remembering the early stages of their lives can be a pleasing experience.
At Keyline Home Care Solutions, we understand that communicating under the best of circumstances can be difficult. That is why we take great pride in providing Keygivers who are well trained in the challenges that caring for a loved one who has dementia can present. Our Keygivers provide more than just companion care, although they do that too, and are available to provide 24/7 care if necessary. For more information and to schedule a no-obligation consultation, call 1-855-4-KEYLINE. Our Key Experts in home care will be able to answer any questions you may have and match you with the Keygiver that best fits your needs.