A person who suffers from dementia will gradually find it more and more difficult to remember simple everyday things, and even remembering names, faces and familiar places and incidents will be a problem. As a result, communication can turn really frustrating and time consuming. Here are a few tips that could help.
5 Tips To Communicate With A Dementia Patient
1. Keep Your Tone Positive
Even though your loved one is suffering from dementia, it is important to maintain a positive and respectful tone at all times. The manner in which you speak will help your loved one get more comfortable, which in turn will help them to be more cooperative towards you. Instead of talking about things that your loved one is not able to do at the moment, focus on the positive things that they can do. Talk about things that interest and excite the patient, as it will help them feel interested and inclined towards listening to you.
2. Be Clear In The Way You Speak And What You Speak
A person who suffers from dementia will gradually find it more and more difficult to concentrate and focus on things. As a result, it will also become difficult for them to always understand what you say. In order to help your loved one understand what you say and to hold their attention, make sure you speak clearly and in a way that is easy to hear and understand. Keep your pace slow, so that the person is able to hear and understand every word you say, instead of missing out and not being able to understand. Keep your tone level, and avoid using high pitch or a loud voice. Try to maintain a soft eye contact as you speak.
3. Use Short Sentences That Are Easy To Understand
It is always easier for anyone to understand sentences that are short and crisp, and more so for someone who is suffering from dementia. As it becomes difficult for a dementia patient to concentrate, using short sentences will help in more effective communication. If your loved one is not able to understand the first time you speak something, say it out again in a slower pace. If required, wait for some time and repeat it again. Use names wherever necessary, and try to relate it to an incident that the person may remember, so that it all gets easier to relate.
4. Listen To The Patient And Understand Their Needs
While you are doing all the talking, it is also very important to understand what the patient wants. Sometimes, a person suffering from dementia may find it very hard to explain and put their thoughts in words. Try to be as patient as you can and encourage your loved one to speak and communicate more. In case the person forgets a word or is not able to use the correct word or phrase, gently suggest the same. Sometimes, the person’s body language will also help you understand what they are trying to say, so look out for signs.
5. Keep Your Instructions Clear To Understand And Easy To Follow
A good way to communicate with someone who is suffering from dementia is to use simple instructions that the person will be able to understand and follow. To make it clearer to follow, break up the instructions into even smaller steps. For instance, instead of asking the person to do an activity a certain way, tell them about a particular step that they have to perform. Give it a break and tell them about the next step, and gradually help to complete the entire activity.
Communicating with a dementia patient can be a very frustrating experience, one that can make you feel exhausted and use up your patience. However, make sure that you are loving and understanding towards your loved one. While it is natural for you to feel burned out, you can hire a professional carer who can look after your loved one, for most or some part of the day, and give you time to relax and recuperate.
You can get in touch with our trained and experienced carers to provide your loved one with the care, attention and dignity they deserve.