Dementia Communication Tips

dementia communication tips

Dementia Communication Tips

dementia communication tips

December 1, 2020 | Health

As Alzheimer’s disease or any other form of dementia progresses in the brain of a loved one, it makes it increasingly difficult to communicate with them.

This disease blocks neuron connections and inhibits information from being shared within the brain to the rest of the body.

As a result, even the smallest forms of communicating can be very difficult to get through with someone who has dementia or more specifically Alzheimer’s disease. However, there are techniques you can utilize so both parties can communicate with one another smoothly. They are as follows:

Be Patient
It’s very difficult for an Alzheimer’s patient to find the right word or the correct phrase to accurately describe what they’re feeling or what they want. As a result, it’s very important that you remain patient with them. Don’t get frustrated. Show the person that you’re trying your very hardest to understand what they want. This assures that everyone keeps a level head and no one gets discouraged.

Offer Reassurance
As frustrating as it is for you to understand a person with Alzheimer’s disease, it’s even more frustrating for them to try and communicate. This is definitely something that we take for grant it on a daily basis. Therefore, offer them reassurance when they may become frustrated. Can you imagine what it would be like to really need something, but lack the ability to ask for it? Plus, if you don’t offer any reassurance they may become dismayed and give up on talking all together. Don’t let this happen. Be supportive. Encourage them to express what they want, even if they’re having a really hard time explaining it.

Don’t Criticize
One thing you should try to avoid is criticizing their response. Don’t tell them they’re wrong, or that they are not using the correct word or phrase. That will only make them more upset and flustered. Instead, refrain from correcting them. Just sit back and listen to what they have to say. You should try and piece together what it is that they want. If you are able to decipher what they really want, politely point out that they mean something else, and that they should try using a different word or phrase.

Limit Distractions
If the TV is on or there is music being played, those sounds compete with your loved one’s attention. They may focus more on what is happening on the screen or become familiar with a song being played on the radio. This will limit their ability to communicate what is on their mind. There’s nothing wrong with having your loved one watch their favorite show or listen to their favorite tunes. However, if you’re trying to have a good, solid conversation with them, it’s best to turn off those distractions.

Keep It Simple and Specific
There’s no need to quote Shakespeare or look to your thesaurus to find long and difficult words. The same goes for directions given to your loved one. Keep it short. Keep it simple when communicating. You should also refrain from asking multiple questions at a time. It’s hard enough for your loved one to focus on one question let alone three that have been asked in a row. You should ask one at a time and wait for their response. This reduces the chance of confusion and frustration for everyone. Also, when you’re referring to something or someone, be specific. This will also help to reduce confusion, as vague sentences are confounding for everyone!These simple techniques can make it much easier to converse with a loved one who has Alzheimer’s disease. It’s also important to note that non-verbal communication is very crucial as well. However, having a chat or exchanging words with someone who has a form of dementia is a good exercise for their brain. Do not rely heavily on non-verbal cues, because you’ll be doing that person a disservice. Nothing beats a good old-fashioned conversation with someone you cherish!

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