Dementia robs your aging family member of so very much, including her ability to communicate with people the way that she always has. By using some of these techniques, dementia doesn’t have to win every battle, though.
Reduce Distractions if You Can
Distractions, whether they’re visual or audio distractions, can create a big problem when it comes to communicating with your aging adult. Minimize noise, if that is at all possible, and consider turning off the television if that’s on. Once you’re done talking with your family member, everything can go back to where it was.
Establish and Maintain Contact
Gaining your elderly family member’s attention and maintaining it is vital. Step into your senior’s field of vision. This can help with minimizing other visual distractions, like the television. Gently touch your senior’s arm and make sure that you are gaining eye contact with her. Speak directly to her and use a calm, upbeat tone of voice.
Don’t Talk Around Your Family Member
One thing you should definitely never do is to talk “around” your senior. You might feel as if she’s not paying attention, but she likely is. It’s frustrating and hurtful for her to realize that you’re talking about and around her, but not to her.
Simplify, Simplify, Simplify
Sometimes the biggest communication problems with an elderly family member who has dementia come up because you’re complicating the situation needlessly. When you’re having more frequent trouble with communication, look at what you might need to simplify. Try asking yes/no questions or offering your family member two choices rather than a handful of choices. Give more context clues to help provide more meaning.
Be Patient and Come Back to It
When you start to feel frustrated, remember that’s going to make the situation worse for both you and for your aging adult. It’s time to take a step back along with a deep breath. You might find that sometimes it helps to let go of the attempt to communicate for a little while and to return to it after you’ve both had some time to recover. From there, you might find it much easier to use a different approach that is likely to be far more successful.
If you’re still having trouble with communication, home care providers can model these communication tips for you. They can show you some of the best ways to keep communication going with your senior family member without irritating both of you in the process.
If you or an aging loved-one are considering home care in Plainview NY, please call the caring staff at Companion Home Care of Long Island. Senior Home Care serving Suffolk, Nassau and Queens Counties. Turn your questions into answers. Call Today (631) 884-0005
Dorothy’s core expertise includes an extensive background of more than 38 years, focusing on Home Care, Senior Care and operating a successful in-home care agency.
In her spare time she enjoys her 5 grandchildren, gardening, skiing and competition 8-Ball.