How to Communicate with a Loved One with Dementia
There is a wide range of differing and often contrasting emotions that you’ll experience, all to varying degrees, after receiving the news that a loved one, whether this is a parent, another family member, or else your partner or a close friend, has developed a memory-based illness such as dementia.
Communication is absolutely essential to maintain and strengthen any relationship, and when a loved one has dementia, the following tips may well help you to strengthen and build upon your bond with them.
Listening is Far More Important Than Speaking
As when talking to anyone in your life, it’s far more informative, productive, and multi-beneficial if both people concentrate on listening to the other rather than simply waiting for their turn to speak.
Supply both non-verbal and verbal words of encouragement and maintain eye contact without looking odd, and, most importantly, employ active listening strategies such as nodding regularly.
Monitor Your Own Body Language
Obviously, throughout each and every conversation you have with your loved one, you’ll be able to pick up physical cues on how comfortable and confident they’re feeling at any given time, but you also need to monitor your own body language, too.
Sit in a relaxed yet attentive manner and make sure you’re not too high above your loved one (this can cause confusion and discomfort) instead, move close (but not too close) and maintain eye contact at all times.
Use props and prompts wherever possible, for example, when talking about another family member or a beloved pet, you can utilize photographs to jog your loved one’s memory and move the conversation along naturally.
Discuss Moving to A Senior Living Community
Tragically, one of the biggest killers of older people and the elderly, both here in the United States and further afield, is loneliness and especially around the Christmas holidays, more and more older people are being left abandoned and alone in their own homes.
Now, the very fact you’re taking the time to read this article means that you’re close to your loved one, and moreover, you want to do everything you can to help them live as long as possible and have as high-quality a life they can. This is why, if it suits your loved one’s individual situation right now or maybe will do in the future, you could consider looking into expert and hands-on Alzheimer’s care in Austin.
The Words You Use
It may well be the case that your friend or family member has only recently been diagnosed with dementia, and as everyone is different, the progression of the disease for each individual living with dementia can vary dramatically.
However, using simple and short sentences can not only make a person with dementia feel more comfortable with the person they’re talking to, but it will also make it more likely that they’ll be ready and willing to talk to that person again in the future.
If your loved one shows signs of fatigue or tiredness, gently end the conversation in a simple and calming way, and most importantly of all, never, under any circumstances, talk about your loved one as if they’re not in the room when they are.