One of the biggest obstacles you can face while caring for a senior loved one with dementia or Alzheimer’s Disease is communication. It can often times be a challenge to have a conversation, since dementia will affect the way a person understands, focuses, and responds. You may find that your senior – or yourself – becomes frustrated trying to communicate, but this can thankfully be avoided once you learn how to set your senior up for success during conversation. To learn how you can better communicate with your senior with dementia, read through our tips and advice below.
Prepare yourself before conversations. Calm, cool, and collected – that’s how you want to be before a conversation with your senior. Your attitude will have a huge impact, so you want to be relaxed and patient. Remember how much you love and care about your senior, and be sincere and pleasant during your interactions.
Create a comfortable environment. Try eliminating distractions; cut out background noises or remove bold or bright patterns. You can also move to a well-lit area and keep your senior’s attention by saying their name or lightly touching them on the shoulder.
Make the conversation easy to understand. While understanding and focusing may be tough for your senior, you can make this process easier by keeping your language concise and to the point. Speak clearly, calmly, and slowly so your senior can process what you are saying before you move onto a different topic. When referring to people, use their names rather than “he” or “she.” Lastly, if your senior doesn’t understand what you are asking, try rephrasing your question – don’t’ just repeat the same thing.
Use friendly non-verbal communication, too. Don’t underestimate the importance of your body language and non-verbal actions! They are very important to make your senior feel comfortable and allow them to respond to you. Try giving them reassuring smiles or making gentle eye contact.
Would you like further advice and guidance on how you can best communicate with your senior loved one with dementia? Our caregivers at Caring Friends are here for you 24/7. To schedule your consultation, or to learn more about our dementia care services, please just give us a call at any time.