The most difficult condition associated with ageing is dementia. It affects both the patient and those around him. There are many types of dementia. All affect brain cells, causing impairments in the ability to process information, make decisions, and communicate verbally. The patient, his caregivers, loved ones, and friends can become frustrated and confused by the difficulties of daily living and interpersonal interaction.
Your loved one might struggle to find the right words to describe something or complete thoughts. They may also have difficulty understanding sequences or remembering what they said. The older adult might have difficulty following your words and may take longer to reply to others, join conversations, or ask repetitive questions. The dementia patient may use fewer words daily, speak strangely, repeat what has been said, and have difficulty following instructions.
How can caregivers and family members create an environment that allows sharing stories, laughter, and conversation in the face of such a difficult diagnosis? These tips will help you build a better relationship with someone unable to communicate due to declining health.
Communication is a new challenge.
Nobody wants to lose their faculties. Debilitating conditions can be difficult for the patient and their loved ones who cannot support them. We can better manage discomforts and replace negative attitudes by allowing ourselves to grieve.
Remind an older adult who you are.
Be aware that people with dementia might not immediately recognize you when you meet them. You can introduce yourself to the senior adult by sharing some background information and explaining how you are related. It can help to bring back fond memories and make the adult feel more at ease. This can help them feel secure and confident when they know who is speaking to them. If the adult seems disoriented or frustrated, a caregiver may be more able to help them feel at ease.
Attention to nonverbal communication
It is important to remember that a dementia patient is someone you care about. It is important to show that you care about the person you are communicating with and make sure they understand your message. Although words can be frustrating, using body language to communicate your message is effective. Caregivers can communicate more effectively by matching their body language and facial expressions with the message they are trying to convey. Remember that dementia patients can still sense emotions even if their tone is different from the speaker’s. We can reduce confusion, anger, agitation, or both by focusing on non-verbals. This will also help increase older adults’ cooperation and ability to follow the conversation.
Pay attention to the style and pace of your words.
Long sentences and a large vocabulary can be frustrating for someone with difficulty communicating. To ensure the older adult can understand the information, caregivers should keep sentences short and stop frequently. The speaker can get valuable feedback by paying attention to their facial expressions.
To maximize your focus, remove distractions.
It is difficult for everyone to stay focused when there are many distractions. It’s even more difficult for patients with dementia. Observing the environment and talking with caregivers at home are important to determine if distractions can be eliminated. It is possible to create a quiet, calm environment by turning off the TV or setting electronic devices into silent mode. You can also ask others to lower their voices, move to another room, or turn off the TV. You can help your loved one stay focused by objectively looking at the surroundings and minimizing overstimulation.
It is important to be present.
Simply spending time with someone with dementia is a great way to help them. Social interactions are even more important when the patient has difficulty communicating with others. Family and friends should make visits to older adults meaningful, even if they don’t get feedback. Listening actively to older adults’ thoughts and opinions is a good practice. People will feel more engaged when they are validated by you nodding and responding with validation. These cues can be even more helpful for dementia patients who struggle to express themselves.
In-home caregiving can make time with elderly loved ones more enjoyable. This is especially true if it becomes difficult to manage daily tasks. Our website has additional resources for caregivers. You can also explore timely topics like medical assistance and personal and senior companionship.
Contact us today to learn more about our experienced team of personal caregivers, registered nurses, and home health aides who can help families like yours.