Dementia is characterized by memory loss, which invariably makes it challenging to carry on lengthy--or even comprehensive--conversations. That doesn't mean, however, that you can't have treasured moments with an affected loved one. If you're providing dementia care for a relative, these strategies will help you continue to communicate in a productive way.
3 Tips for Communicating With Someone Who Has Dementia
1. Minimize Distractions
Too much stimulation can make virtually anyone agitated, but it can be especially stressful for people with dementia. If you want to engage your loved one, turn off the television and take them to the quietest room in your home.
With memory loss comes confusion, and distractions not only hinder focus but also cause unnecessary anxiety. It's not uncommon for people with dementia to fixate on random features of their environment in an attempt to identify them and end up frustrated when they can't.
2. Ask Simple Questions
If you've been providing dementia care, you've probably already realized that your loved one is no longer able to have the same kinds of deep discussions they used to. You can still have worthwhile conversations, however, if you simplify your inquiries.
Instead of asking open-ended questions, for example, stick to those that can be answered with "yes" or "no." It can also be helpful to give just two choices, like "would you like to go to the park or the coffee shop today," instead of asking something more general like "what would you like to do today."
3. Offer Help Without Correcting Them
If your loved one makes a simple mistake, like using the wrong name when talking about a specific grandchild, don't correct them. It will only stall the conversation, and it may make them too embarrassed to continue.
While children who are expanding their vocabulary can always benefit from a lesson in lexicon, those with dementia are gradually losing their vocabulary, so correcting them won't have the same positive impact. You can, however, help your relative find the right word if you know what they're trying to say but they're struggling to voice it.
If it's becoming increasingly more difficult to provide dementia care for your loved one as their condition deteriorates, turn to Rivers of Life in Savage, MN. A locally owned and operated community, these senior apartments boast lots of amenities that are tailored to help residents with memory issues thrive. To learn more about their offerings, visit their website or call (952) 380-8698.