Communication is critical for everyone. There are two main forms of communication – verbal (the things we say) and non-verbal (gestures, touch and body language). This feature focuses on the verbal form of communication and will provide you with some practical tips on how to help a person with dementia.
Here are few tips which will allow you to navigate the often murky waters of dementia communication :
- Keep a positive attitude. Seeing your loved one in such decline is quite distressing. Prepare yourself ahead of time. Educate yourself on what to expect. Make sure you have plenty of support from friends, mentors, or therapists.
- Avoid distractions. Keep the environment distraction free. If you are trying to have a conversation, make sure to eliminate noise and other distraction. Stay in their line of vision making it easy to focus on you.
- Keep it simple. Use easy to understand language. Don’t ask a lot of question as even a “How are you?” can be confusing. Avoid sarcasm or irony. Talk about what they know and are most familiar with. Try not to belabour subjects that seem confusing and be quick to move on or redirect when you encounter confusion or agitation.
- Be willing to repeat. Whether it’s because they didn’t hear you properly, are taking longer to process your words, or simply did not underhand you the first time, repetition is to be expected. Avoid being frustrated by its inevitability and simply repeat or rephrase.
- Be respectful. While their behaviour may seem childlike, we must remember that we are communicating with an adult. Keep your tone respectful and friendly and avoid childish phrases.
Watch out the next post for more tips.