Dementia is a condition that may not be noticeable at first, but since it’s a progressive condition, it will become more noticeable over time. Dementia is comprised of various stages, and in its more advanced stages, patients can become increasingly difficult to communicate with. If you have a loved one who has been diagnosed with dementia, communicating can be a challenge. But there are ways you can communicate with your loved one which can help make the situation less stressful for everyone. Here’s how to properly and effectively communicate with your loved one with dementia.
The very first aspect that can affect the effectiveness of your communication would be your attitude. It’s important to be as positive as you can be since your thoughts and your body language can say more than words ever could. Speak in a respectful and pleasant way, and make use of tone, expressions, and touch to convey a positive message and let them feel your affection.
Get them to focus
If you are trying to communicate with your loved one with dementia, you should limit the distractions around their environment. Get them to focus by turning off the television or radio, shutting the door, or closing the curtains. Before you speak, get their attention first – make sure they are looking at you, address them by their name, and introduce yourself and your relation to them as well. Touching can also help them concentrate, and if they are seated, sit down in front of them and keep eye contact.
It’s also important to be clear in your message. Use the simplest words you can think of and speak in a slow and calm manner. Try not to raise your voice – it’s actually better to have a lower pitch and tone since this often makes people calmer, especially if you want to provide them with stress-free dementia care at home. If they don’t understand what you are trying to say, repeat your message using the same words. One more tip: try not to use pronouns like she, he, or they; rather, make use of peoples’ names.
Keep it simple
If you are trying to ask a question, keep the question as simple as possible. Don’t try to ask too many questions at once; do it one at a time. It’s also best to stick with questions that are answerable with a ‘yes’ or ‘no’. Avoid questions which are open-ended or those which present too many options. For instance, rather than ask “What would you like to eat for breakfast?”, ask “Would you like to eat eggs, or milk and cereal?” It would be even better if you can show them their options as well.