4 Tips For Communicating With Someone With Dementia

For people who have a loved one dealing with dementia, communication is a constant struggle. Not only do you have to learn to navigate your loved one's new behavior, but you also must learn to effectively communicate with them in a manner that is comfortable for both you and them. Here are some tips to keep in mind.  

Stay Calm

Always strive to stay calm when communicating with your loved one. Any perceived irritation or impatience in your interaction won't necessarily go unnoticed. Sighing or talking loudly are just some of the things to avoid. In many instances, this could make your loved one less open to communicating with you if they feel they are being a nuisance. If you're feeling overwhelmed and strained, it's best to step away for a moment and get yourself together rather than show any aggravation when speaking.

Keep Commands Short

When you ask too much of your loved one, they are more likely to get confused. Aim to keep your commands short; don't give multiple commands at once. For example, it's too much to tell someone with dementia to ensure their shoes are on their feet while also telling them to watch their step when walking. Instead, this should be broken down into two separate commands, such as first telling them to fix their shoes and only after they've completed this step, telling them to watch their steps.

Don't Just Listen With Your Ears

Learn to not just listen with your ears. You should also be listening with your heart and your eyes. Communicating with another person is more than just exchanging words; keep this in mind and look at your loved one to see if they are sharing any nonverbal forms of communication with you when the two of you are interacting. Facial expressions and body language can help you recognize when someone is tired or overwhelmed when they don't exactly have the words to say it.  

Try Not To Correct

As hard as it might be, try not to correct your loved one when they say something that may not be correct. For people dealing with dementia, being treated like a child can be disheartening, and when you spend your time correcting them, this is exactly what they feel like. When your loved one is being talkative, spend your time listening to them and allowing them to openly express themselves, not trying to correct them.

By following these tips, you can help de-stress communication between you and your loved one, making it a more enjoyable experience for you both. For more tips and advice, contact a center that specializes in dementia care, like Alta Ridge Communities.