A person with dementia has a hard time recalling things. This makes it challenging to take care of them and also to understand exactly what they mean. It is therefore important to communicate with dementia patients. Know the strategies and dementia tips to put in place to be able to handle the challenges that come with caring for such persons.
No one is born with prior knowledge on how to communicate with a person suffering from dementia but still we can learn how to. Such communication skills are essential for dementia caregivers so that they can minimize the stress that comes with the job. There are three ways how to go about this.
Every patient is unique. There is no one for all solution in communication. In the early stages of dementia the communication is not adversely affected but as the disease takes its toll the care givers will notice that the patient will be using certain words repetitively while inventing new ones for familiar objects. They will not speak often and they have difficulties forming words.
How to help dementia sufferers communicate
Dementia sufferers have difficulties forming the correct sentences and even expressing emotions hence the need to know how to help them. Some of the ways that Alzheimer’s tips for communication are as follows.
- Be patient and offer support. Listen to them and show that you are paying attention. Do not interrupt them when they are speaking no matter how hard they are finding it to complete a thought, give them a chance to try.
- Do not be a critic. Dementia patients are already having a hard time. Do not add more pressure by telling them what you they should be saying.
- Make them feel comfortable. If they are having trouble communicating let them know it is okay and that they have nothing to worry about.
- Do not become argumentative. Never argue with a patient. This only agitates them more and cause them to act in a manner that is not healthy. They should always feel that they are appreciated and not as a burden.
- Encourage them to use gestures and other methods of non-verbal communication. This is so that they can always say what they want to even when words are fading away. It can be your own game whereby you have a special code.
- Have a guessing game. When they say something that you do not understand then try guessing. Do not go overboard though because this can also frustrate dementia sufferers.
The communication process
As the dementia continues infiltrating the person it is important to watch how you speak. The keyword is, choose your words carefully. What could be the effective and efficient communication method?
Always identify yourself to the person and be friendly while at it. You should also maintain eye contact. Be at their level meaning if they are kneeling, you should kneel down too.
Call them by name. Even if they do not recall it, use it. It will eventually get their attention.
Make it simple. Use shorter and simpler words plus sentences. Ensure that you speak slowly but clearly.
Most of all always find a way of turning negatives into positives.