Communicating with seniors with dementia can be quite difficult, and many caregivers feel as if they’re never going to get through to their loved ones. If your aging loved one’s dementia is making conversations nearly impossible, you need to consider some new tactics. With a little bit of patience and a solid plan in place, your daily interactions with your loved one can be much less stressful.
Don’t Take Anything Personally
The most important thing to remember whenever you’re communicating with an individual who has dementia is to never take anything personally. No matter what steps you take to communicate clearly, mistakes are going to happen, and a minor slipup could quickly turn into an argument if you aren’t careful. Leaving your emotions at the door can make your life much easier in the coming years. If you’re feeling angry or frustrated, you need to take a step back and cool off.
One of the most common mistakes caregivers make when communicating with seniors with dementia is talking to them as if they’re children. Your speaking naturally and clearly is absolutely vital to your loved one’s confidence, which is why you need to refrain from altering your speech patterns. Even if your loved one isn’t quite getting what you’re saying, you should repeat yourself clearly using a warm tone of voice.
There are a variety of age-related health conditions that can make it more challenging for seniors to live independently. However, many of the challenges they face can be easier to manage if their families opt for professional in-home care. You can rely on expertly trained caregivers to keep your loved one safe and comfortable while aging in place.
Keep Questions and Comments Simple
Your loved one might be able to follow relatively complex conversations during the initial stages of this disease, but there may come a point where those types of discussions become extremely confusing. When you need to get some information from your loved one, stick to one question at a time, and make sure each statement is clear. You might also want to refrain from asking open-ended questions that have multiple possible answers. An example would be having your loved one choose between two dishes instead of asking what he or she would like to eat for dinner.
Caring for a senior loved one can be challenging for families who don’t have expertise or professional training in home care, but this challenge doesn’t have to be faced alone. Family caregivers can turn to Wellesley Home Care Assistance for the help they need. We provide high-quality live-in and respite care as well as comprehensive Alzheimer’s, dementia, stroke, and Parkinson’s care.
While most people can block out minor distractions such as a loud television or flickering lights, that type of stimuli can overwhelm a senior with dementia. If your loved one is having a difficult time responding to you, look around for any potential sources of distraction. Pulling the curtains shut, dimming the lights, and turning off all electronics may make your conversations much easier. Certain colors could be problematic as well, and there might be some photos or knickknacks in the home that need to be stored out of sight.
Learn to Communicate without Words
In the final stages of dementia, many seniors rely completely on nonverbal communication. Even simple sentences are challenging to follow, which is why you need to communicate with your body. Small gestures such as smiling or lightly touching your loved one’s shoulder could have a huge impact on his or her demeanor. Those simple gestures mean quite a bit, and you should begin using them early on.
If you’re looking for reliable dementia care, Wellesley Home Care Assistance offers high-quality at-home care for seniors who are managing the challenges of cognitive decline. We offer a revolutionary program called the Cognitive Therapeutics Method (CTM), which uses mentally stimulating activities to boost cognitive health in the elderly. CTM has proven to help seniors with dementia regain a sense of pride and accomplishment and learn how to engage with others in an enjoyable way. Call Home Care Assistance today at (781) 239-0060 to learn about our high-quality in-home dementia care services.