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Communication Strategies for Individuals with Dementia

nurse and elderly womanWhen someone has dementia, it may be difficult to communicate with them. This doesn’t mean that it’s impossible, though. It is a situation that is particularly troubling when you are caring for someone you love who is suffering from a related illness. There are a number of ways that you can communicate with individuals who have dementia. At Home Healthcare is dedicated to making sure caregivers know how to communicate with these individuals in verbal and non-verbal ways.

Here are some tips to help you effectively communicate with someone who has dementia and enhance your interactions.

Remember the Person has Dementia

As much as you may want to speak normally to the person with dementia, you must understand that they may be feeling a certain way that can make communication more difficult. They may feel confused or anxious. In these types of situations, it’s best to speak calm, slow, clearly, and in a friendly manner.

Be Aware of Your Emotions

The way you display your emotions may be mimicked by the person with dementia. They can mirror the emotions and give off the same energy you display. You want to make sure that you are not giving off the negative feelings through your body language and stay positive.

Visuals Can Go a Long Way

If you want to communicate something to the individual with dementia, it may be most effective to use visual aids to explain what you’re saying. Whether you are requesting the person to do something or you are letting them know what you are going to do, if you can demonstrate using visual aids, they may be more likely to understand what you are trying to communicate.

Make Sure There are No Distractions

If the television is on or radio is playing while you are trying to have a discussion, make sure to eliminate the additional sounds. Often times, the focus of the individual with dementia may not be on what you are saying. When this happens, make sure other sounds are muted as much as possible until you are finished with your discussion.

Be Patient

You can tell the individual what you want to tell them, but they may not understand it every time or they may not remember what you just said. They may ask the same question multiple times. It’s important for you to remain patient during this time so you are not expressing a negative energy. Rather, you can talk with the person in the friendly manner. You don’t have to repeat yourself, but you should let the individual know you are by their side.

Keep Conversation Going

Even if the individual stops talking or communicating, be sure to keep talking about some of the things that may make him or her happy. Mention good memories, family members, friends, and more. No matter what you discuss, even if you are talking alone, show that you care for the person and you are there.

Stick to One Thing at a Time

When you are talking about something or asking the individual to do something, try not to overwhelm them with multiple questions or tasks. Stick to one thing at a time and when that first thing is complete, you can communicate your next idea.

Our adult home care specialists at At Home Healthcare know how difficult it can be to communicate with someone who has dementia. If you need in-home care, you can reach out to us and learn how we can help you. Our team has been providing Texas with at home care since 1986. You can trust us to provide the best possible care to your loved one. Call us today to learn more about our services.

Categories: Healthcare, Tips
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