Following these simple steps of communication will help make caregiving less stressful and may improve your quality of time spent with your loved one who has dementia.
Dementia can cause mood swings and change a person's personality as well as behavior. Knowing how to effectively communicate with someone who has this dementing illness can improve your ability to handle some of the difficult behaviors you may encounter.
Stay Focused & Be Positive - Be aware of your body language, it plays an important role in the message you wish to convey. Speak in a pleasant upbeat manner, use touch to show affection.
Limit Noise & Distractions - Move to a quiet area. Identify yourself by name and relation. Be certain to have your loved ones attention before speaking.
Keep It Simple - Speak slowly and clearly and offer reassurance. Use simple words and sentences. You may need to repeat your message or rephrase the question. Be specific with the use of names of people and places.
Yes, No, or a Choice - Asking a question that can be answered yes or no will eliminate the decision making process that can be difficult for someone with dementia. Another great way to communicate is to offer a visual choice, "do you want this or that?"
Support Independence - Allowing someone with dementia to do as much as possible supports independence. Encouraging your loved one to do what they can and gently reminding them of the steps they forget may reduce agitation from the fear that control is being taken away
Redirect - Often when someone with dementia becomes agitated or irritable a distraction like changing the subject or environment can ease the anxiety. Soothing music also has a calming effect.
Be Comforting - Sometimes people with dementia may become confused, have hallucinations and believe things have happened that have not. Avoid convincing them that they are wrong. Show comfort, support and reassurance that all will be well.
Go Back In Time - Remembering the past is often a soothing and calming activity for someone with dementia. Although your loved one may have difficulty recalling what happened that morning recalling what happened years ago is more likely to be retained and can help improve their mood and temperament.
You can best meet the challenges of caring for someone with dementia by using creativity, flexibility, patience and compassion. Always check with your doctor and make sure to get support from others.
Where do you turn when a love one needs more than you can manage on your own? What do you do when some of the care alternatives seem like a complication rather than a solution? Consult Atlanta's most trusted source for quality Home Care since 1994, Easy Living Services, Inc. Call to discuss your specific needs, 770-442-8664 or for more information and health tips visit us at: www.easylivingservices.com