Everyone enjoys the company of family and friends, Alzheimer’s patients are no exception. Visits can be a source of support and comfort, as well as a means of staying connected to friends and family. When visiting someone with Alzheimer’s or dementia, it’s important to make the experience positive for both parties. In some cases, people may be hesitant about visiting someone with dementia due to a lack of knowledge about what to expect. Here are a few things to keep in mind when visiting someone with dementia.
Our minds are constantly at work; we understand what other people say to us long before they finish speaking. However, for those with dementia, understanding what is being said and comprehending a situation can be difficult. You will start to notice that your loved one has difficulty following conversations or remembering things from several minutes ago. The best way to help them is by speaking slowly and clearly. The calmer and more organized you are when speaking with them, the more they will feel more at ease. Using simple words can also make communication easier, such as yes and no.
Be Prepared To Listen
As part of your plan for how to visit someone with dementia, make sure you have a plan for what you will do if they become agitated or uncomfortable. They might start yelling at you or talking in another language or ask questions they’ve asked before. The best way to manage this is just by listening and not trying to appease them by saying anything in particular. Remember that your loved one has a disease that makes communication difficult, so their words won’t necessarily be mean-spirited. Don’t take things personally if they get upset and yell at you.
Create A Pleasant Environment
A pleasant environment is important for dementia patients. Make sure they are comfortable as well. For example, if your loved one gets cold easily, it’s better to keep them warm than make them uncomfortable because you want them to look a certain way. If they prefer being in pajamas all day, you might want to give them some leeway in their attire rather than putting them in clothes that stress or cause anxiety.
Make Your Loved Ones Your Priority, Not The Other Way Around
Keep all of your visits short (even if you have to make more of them). As a dementia patient’s condition worsens, their attention span will shrink. It’s best to limit your visit to fifteen minutes at most. They can lose track of conversations or become easily confused if they go too long. Keep topics light and avoid getting into emotionally charged subjects (i.e., family feuds or politics). Avoid asking questions that require much elaboration from your loved one, as well as riddles, jokes, or wordplay.
Find Creative Ways To Redirect Difficult Conversations
Like anyone else, people with dementia can have behavioral issues or get irritated. Understand that they aren’t angry with you, they’re reacting to internal confusion. A loved one yelling can be very upsetting, but in reality, their outburst has nothing to do with you. That doesn’t mean ignoring them is an option. Instead, redirect challenging conversations in creative ways. Remember that a person’s behavior may not be related to what you’re saying, regardless of what seems to be the case.