Communication is often one of the biggest obstacles when it comes to caring for a senior loved one with dementia or Alzheimer’s Disease. Having a conversation can be a challenge because your senior’s ability to focus, comprehend, and respond has been affected by dementia. You may even find that your senior becomes frustrated (and you might, too) when trying to communicate, but this can be prevented if you learn to set up your senior for success instead. Below, we’re sharing our best advice so you can discover how to best communicate with your senior loved one with dementia.
Prepare yourself before conversations
Get into the right headspace by being calm and relaxed. You want to be as patient as possible with your senior, who you love and care about. Attitude is everything, so do your best to make your actions sincere and your demeanor pleasant.
Create a comfortable environment
When you eliminate distractions from the environment – like bothersome background noise or bold and bright patterns – it can help your senior focus better. You can keep their attention by keeping your body language relaxed, saying their name, or gently touching their shoulder. Also try moving into a well-lit area where they can see you clearly.
Make the conversation easy to understand
Comprehension and focusing may be tough for your senior, so control your speech by speaking calmly, clearly, and slowly. Give your senior time to process what you are saying before moving onto a new topic. If you refer to people and places, use names instead of pronouns like “he,” “she,” or “it.” If your senior is having difficulty understanding a question, instead of repeating it, try to rephrase what you are asking instead.
Use friendly non-verbal communication
While it’s important to make sure your physical speech is well-received, it is also essential to learn to control your non-verbal actions and body language as well. Giving friendly smiles or making gentle eye contact can be the key to making your senior feel comfortable.
For further advice and guidance on how you can best communicate with your loved one with dementia, please feel free to reach out to our caregivers at MasterPeace. We are here to help you schedule your consultation, share our advice, or to help you learn more about our dementia care services.