How should you communicate with seniors with dementia?
Communication is basically listening so you understand each other’s point of view. But how will you be able to communicate with a senior who is dealing with dementia? Will you be able to open his heart and put his trust in you? Continue your read to learn more.
Let them feel involved.
Dementia may cause people to feel insecure; thus, it lowers a person’s self-esteem. Involving them in activities or giving them simple tasks can encourage them to think there are still a lot of things that they can do despite their condition. For example, an activity requires critical thinking and it may trigger people with dementia. Now, you must engage them by doing things together and not just offering a hand and taking over the task.
Support their needs.
Family members must be well-informed and have enough knowledge of what their patient needs. Do you meet the quality of care they need the most? Are you having enough time to check or talk to them personally about how they are feeling? Spend time talking to them so they can feel your support. If you’re busy, this might be the right time to hire a caregiver in Victoria BC, who is well-trained and have more experience in providing dementia care.
Understand their capabilities.
Independence is important in the process of building oneself. We must think that people with dementia have to do things their way as well. Focusing on their loss of capability is not healthy. Alternatively, we may even discover things we don’t know they are capable of doing.
Connect with them.
Physical and emotional empathy for people with dementia is sharing positivity that can eventually improve their behavior. For instance, hugging or tapping their shoulders makes them feel recognized. Emotional empathy is the ability to put yourself in the place of another and understanding their state of feelings. This is important for those who suffer from dementia because people around them will make them realize they understand what they are going through.
On the other hand, there are factors that can help you improve the way you communicate with them:
Caregivers, experts at that, know the importance of word choices. Instead of saying, “Don’t try to help with household chores and just sit down or stay in your room all day”, you say “You can sweep the floor or mop the table and I’ll do the other cleaning chores.” Therefore, you avoid saying the negatives like ‘must not’. In the process, you turn the negative into positive. You avoid hurting his feelings. You avoid making him feel unproductive because of dementia. When asking, choose simple and shorter words so they can give focus on your question.
Aside from choosing your words, you also need to learn how to speak them. Always talk in a gentle and calming voice. It conveys caring, compassion, and respect. Speak lightly and slowly so they will feel included and has a role in a particular situation.
A person with dementia easily notices gestures, facial expressions, and eye contact. Non-verbal communication is also important for them in order to prove what you’re saying is pure facts and truth.
Another way to communicate with seniors with dementia is to put on a happy face so he will acquire that positive vibe. In this way, the senior with dementia will open his heart to you more.
The way you communicate with seniors with dementia reflects your patience. This is why it is very important that you talk to them very gently. As much as possible, do not get irritated very easily.