6 Tips for Communicating with an Elder who has Dementia
Caregiver in Allentown NJ
Caring for a loved one with dementia can pose a variety of challenges, one of them being the ability to communicate with them. As their condition progresses, older adults with this condition will have a more difficult time understanding language, as well as finding the right words to express their thoughts and feelings. Both you and the elder will probably end up frustrated over not knowing what the other is trying to say.
Fortunately there are several ways that this communication barrier can be lifted. It will just take a little time and patience on your end, but you and your loved one will once again be able to understand one another with these tips.
- Stay positive. The way you are standing and your facial expression can tell the elder a lot about how you are feeling. If you are stressed or angry, those feelings will also be easy to see. When talking to the elder, try to use positive words, as well as speaking with a pleasant and respectful tone. The elder will be much more willing to cooperate if you are happy and upbeat instead of moody.
- Remove distractions. If there are any distractions in the room, it is going to be difficult getting your loved one’s attention. Turn off the TV, radio, and anything else that could take their attention away from you.
- Be clear. Someone with dementia will not understand complex sentences and requests. Try to use simple sentences in a low voice, since high pitch voices are much harder for older adults with dementia to understand. Speak slowly in order to make it easier for the elder to comprehend what is being said. If they still do not understand, repeat yourself, word for word, in a slow and calm manner.
- Ask simple questions. Keep the questions simple by asking ones that require a yes or no response. Do not bombard them with multiple questions, but wait for them to answer one before asking another.
- Give them a chance. It will probably take the senior a while to answer, so give them the time they need. Listen intently while they are trying to communicate with you.
- Make the steps simple. When asking your loved one to do something, break it down into steps. For example, if you were asking them to change their clothes, tell them to put their shirt on, their pants on, etc.
Even if your communication with the elder gets better, there may still be challenges. Professional caregivers can be hired to give you a break from your caregiving role until you are ready to continue.
If you or an aging loved one are considering hiring caregiver services in Allentown, NJ or the surrounding areas, please call Independence Home Care today at 609-208-1111 for more information.