How to Talk to a Loved One or Patient with Dementia
Do you have a senior loved one you care for with Alzheimer’s Disease or dementia? If so, you may often find yourself struggling with communication. Having a conversation can be a challenge because dementia can limit a senior’s ability to comprehend, focus, and respond. Your senior loved one (and even yourself) might also become frustrated trying to communicate, but frustration can be avoided if you are able to set your senior up for success during a conversation. Read through our best advice below that can help you learn to communicate better with your senior.
Prepare yourself before conversations. Your mindset is everything, so enter into a calm and relaxed headspace. Be patient with your senior because you love them and care about them. Your attitude can make all the difference, so be both sincere and pleasant.
Create a comfortable environment. Help your senior to focus better by making their environment distraction-free. Move to a well-lit area free from bothersome noises and bold patterns. Remember to keep your own body language relaxed, too. Keep their full attention by gently touching their shoulder or saying their name.
Make the conversation easy to understand. You can help your senior understand and focus on the conversation by speaking clearly, concisely, and right to the point. Speak calmly and enunciate your words. Give your senior time to understand each sentence and respond before moving on. When talking about people and places, be sure to use names rather than pronouns. If your senior doesn’t understand your question, rephrase the question instead of repeating it.
Use friendly non-verbal communication, too. Your body language and other non-verbal actions are critical components to accompany your physical speaking. Showing your loved one a friendly smile or making gentle eye contact can be reassuring and help them feel comfortable.
If you would like more tips and advice on how you can best communicate with your senior loved one with dementia, our caregivers at Extended Family are here for you. Please give us a call to schedule your consultation or to learn more about our dementia care and senior care services.