How to Best Communicate with a Person Who Has Dementia

How to Best Communicate with a Person Who Has Dementia

Ever have an issue communicating with those you care for? There are some simple steps that you can take that will make communication easier.

1. Positivity

Always remember to set the tone. Your body language and attitude speak to those you care for just as much as your words. Be positive and set the tone.

2. Eye Contact/Touch

Sometimes it is difficult to know if you are being heard and understood. To ensure you have those you care about attention, Make eye contact. Sometimes non-verbal cues and touch can ensure communication is happening.

3. Its all in the name.

Remember to use their name and your name and relation. For example, you may say ” I am Sara, and I am your caregiver for today”. If you are a relation, remind them of the relationship.

4. Keep it simple.

Use simple words and sentences. Break down directions and always speak slowly and distinctly in a reassuring tone. When you break down tasks, it makes things easier for those you care for. If they forget a step or part of a process a gentle simple reminder can often get them back on task.

5. Ask Answerable Questions

When you need to ask questions, keep them simple and ask questions one at a time. Wait for an answer before asking your next question. When asking questions give them a few choices and don’t ask too many open-ended questions.

6. Use Empathy.

Remember kindness and consideration go a long way. Be patient when communicating with those you care for. If they are having a hard time remembering words, it is okay to suggest words but always listen for the meaning and feelings that they are trying to communicate.

7. Memory Lane

Often with the onset of dementia, many we care for can’t remember some things but sometimes a trip down memory lane is a soothing activity for them. Encourage those old memories.

8. Use Humor

Remember laughter is a great healer. Have fun and keep things light when you can but not at someone’s expense. Humour is one of the social skills that those with dementia often retain so it is great to make them laugh alongside you.

 

Are there other tips that have helped you communicate effectively with those you care for?

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