How to communicate with someone who has Dementia

 

This is for anyone who has loved ones who are living with dementia

 

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You will be aware that communicating with someone with dementia can be a challenge and at times we may feel frustrated or inadequate. People living with dementia will have challenges they may feel angry or frustrated about what is happening to them, they may not be able to do the things they once enjoyed.

Just because they have dementia it doesn’t mean that they are a different person, they just need to do things differently, they shouldn’t stop doing the things they use to enjoy, they just need to do it in a different way, it's important to focus on the things they can do and try not to let your loved ones become isolated. Yes, you have busy lives but your parents too had busy lives when you were children nd they made time for you.

 

I would like to provide you with some ideas and tips in helping you communicate better and in a meaningful way. One way you can do this is to try and see things from their perspective. Often people who have dementia will have their long term memory and those memories make sense to them.

I remember my mother didn’t recognise my father at times but when she saw a picture of him as a younger man a smile came across her face and I could tell she was tapping into her long-term memory.

They may start talking about going to work or think that they need to go and meet with someone, rather than mention that they are confused it will benefit them if you ask about their friend or what they did at work, this may encourage them to participate in a conversation.

Don’t correct them because reminding them that they don’t work there or the person has passed away and is no longer with us may be hard for them and could cause anxiety.

Other ways in which you can communicate are to introduce yourself when you meet them and to obtain their attention before making any physical contact, make good eye contact be reassuring and encouraging, reminisce with them and speak clearly and slowly, try not to say anything that may upset them by saying everything will be ok instead put yourself in their shoes and tell them that you understand why they may be feeling upset or anxious.

I hope these simple steps will help you better communicate and have a more enjoyable experience with your loved ones, remember it's not about you or what you have been doing, it's entering their world and joining them remembering the things of the past