Dementia affects each individual differently, so it is crucial to communicate in a way that is right for each person. To better connect with someone with dementia, you will need to know the right strategies that can bridge gaps and foster a more fulfilling relationship between you and the individual. Here, we break down how you can do so.
What is Dementia?
Many of us get a little forgetful as we age and will require a little longer than usual to recall certain memories or events. This is completely normal and is a common experience among older adults. Dementia is a progressive illness that will eventually affect one’s ability to understand and remember basic facts like daily activities, dates, names, and places. It is not a normal part of the aging process and it includes the loss of cognitive functioning, reasoning, learning, remembering, and thinking, drastically affecting one’s quality of life. A few warning signs of dementia include personality or behavior changes, the loss of ability to complete daily tasks, and withdrawal from social events.
How Dementia Affects Communication
Since dementia gradually affects one’s ability to present rational ideas and reason clearly, this condition in turn affects the way they communicate. You may find that as the illness progresses, you will have to initiate discussions to make conversation. Your ideas and thoughts may not be perceived accurately by the other party as well, causing them to ask many questions. Their responses can also become delayed – all of these are common ways that dementia affects a person’s ability to communicate. It can even become confusing when your loved one has a good day followed up by a bad day. It can get painful and frustrating for family members or caregivers to see their loved ones this way, making communication a major challenge within the family.
Three Tips for Connecting With Someone Who Has Dementia
There are many strategies that caregivers and families can use to be more successful at communicating with someone with dementia. Keep in mind that every person’s experience with this illness is unique, and one strategy that is successful with one person may be useless with someone else.
- Before communicating, ensure that the environment is conducive. Ideally, a quiet and calm room with good lighting without the television or radio going on in the background can help immensely.
- Try more physical touch – You could also use more reassuring pats on the arm or smile while you’re speaking so that your loved one understands your tone better.
- Let them have control – No matter what happens, try your best not to interrupt them when they speak even if you think you know what they’re saying.
Why Choose Seaton Chesterfield?
The sheer range of amenities and services we offer easily makes our retirement community the ideal destination for retirees. From helping those suffering from memory-related conditions to individuals who require little assistance to live to their fullest, you can rely on our professional experts to provide only the highest quality care to your loved ones.
To learn more about assisted living and memory care programs in Seaton Chesterfield, contact us today.