5 Effective Tips to Communicate With Dementia Patients
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 results in 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. As dementia progresses, changes in the ability to communicate can vary from person to person. 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.
How Does Dementia Affect Communication and Interaction?
Dementia damages the 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 during communication.
- 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.
There are different types of dementia, and they can affect a person in a number of different ways. For example, in Lewy body dementia protein deposits on the nerve cells in the brain affect thinking, memory, and movement activities of a person. Another type is Frontotemporal dementia which affects the frontal and temporal lobe of the brain that is associated with the language, personality, and behavior of a person.
Why Is Communication Important with Those Who Have Dementia?
Losing the ability to communicate can be frustrating for people with dementia, their family members, and caregivers. Clear communication helps you understand the feelings and experiences of a person living with dementia which results in an enhanced quality of life and a sense of well-being. Communication plays an important role in helping your loved one live life with dignity and self-esteem.
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. You can use gestures, body movement, and, most importantly, the facial expression to help your loved ones with dementia understand what you want to say.
Here are 5 practical communication strategies when dealing with dementia patients:
Have Positive Interactions
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 in 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 a rough and louder voice. Also, refrain from using pronouns or short-forms while talking, instead directly include the names of persons and places.
Discuss on One Thing at a Time
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.
Respond with Reassurance
Dementia patients come across severe challenges in case of managing emotions 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 who have dementia. These tips will help you to care for a loved one with dementia effectively.
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