It’s unspeakably agonizing to witness the decline of a loved one with any sort of dementia. With the advancement of the disease, you may observe minor memory loss that gradually morphs into profound impairment and finally, your loved one’s identity itself is compromised.
What to Expect
Communication problems can be among the most distressing aspects of caring for someone with dementia and it’s equally frustrating for the caregivers of such patients. Although it can be difficult to read why people with dementia behave the way they do, the reason is attributed to the changes occurring in the brain caused by the disease.
Dementia damages brain’s nerve-pathway which makes it hard to find the correct words and to interpret what others are saying. Changes in the power to communicate can differ from person to person, on the basis of the stage of the disease. Issues you can anticipate to witness throughout the disease advancement include:
- Difficulty finding the exact words.
- Using well-known words repeatedly.
- Describing known objects rather than referring them by name.
- Easily losing train of thought
- Trouble organizing words logically.
- Reverting to communicating in a native language.
- Speaking less often.
- Trusting on gestures more than verbal communication.
Communication Strategies for Dementia
Dementia patients not only have a lot of trouble expressing their own thoughts and emotions, but they also become incapable of understanding others. Learning how to relate and converse with loved ones, during these times is extremely important.
Here are 5 practical communication strategies for dementia.
- Have Positive Interactions
- Avoid Distractions
- Speak Clearly
- Discuss on One Thing at a Time
- Respond with Reassurance
How you interact with a dementia patient goes a long way in affecting their mental health. Work out a cheerful and easy mood through courteous and pleasant conversations. Use physical touch, delicate tone, and facial expressions to express your message affectionately and respectfully.
The perfect way to communicate with a person having dementia is to do so during times of lesser distractions in the surroundings. This advice serves to aid them in concentrating on your conversation and comprehending it in a better way without getting confused or anxious.
When indulging a conversation with someone with dementia, you should stick to using as simple words and phrases as possible. Speak slowly, distinctly, and in a pacifying tone. Avoid speaking in rough and louder voice. Also, refrain from using pronouns or short-forms while talking, instead directly include the names of persons and places.
Someone with dementia may find it extremely difficult to be able to be mindful of a lot of topics used in the conversation. So it’s recommended to maintain a simple conversation while conveying only a single message at a time.
Dementia patients come across severe challenges in case of managing emotion and are normally unsure about themselves. As a caregiver, rather than picking out on their faults, empathize with them and reply in a comforting, encouraging, and reassuring way. You can even hold their hands to make them self-assured and comfortable in your company.
Being a dementia caregiver, you must know the dos and don’ts when communicating with persons suffering from dementia. These tips will help you to effectively care for a loved one with dementia.