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.
Conversations surrounding home health care can be as uncomfortable as they are necessary. Although it may be tempting to avoid the discomfort or fears surrounding these conversations, putting them off can have a negative effect on the whole family. Here’s how to begin these conversations with sensitivity.
Give Parents an Active Role
As parents age, it may be frustrating for them to feel they have less agency in their own lives. Overlooking their opinions during the decision-making process can leave them feeling uneasy or insulted. To mitigate this, be sure to give parents an active role in the decision. This can be as simple as asking pointed questions such as, “How would you like the transition to companion home care to be handled?” Hearing their opinions out can help them adapt and adjust with more ease.
Plan to Reevaluate
One reason that parents may feel anxious about the idea of home health care is that it may seem to be a permanent change. Planning to reevaluate after a certain amount of time, such as three or six weeks, may alleviate their anxiety. This way, parents and children can check in and make sure that the home health care services are going as desired.
Begin Conversations Early
Putting these conversations off may be tempting, but it’s important to begin them before they’re necessary. This will help parents and children avoid rushing to seek care after a crisis and potentially making hasty decisions.
Find Happy Mediums
With major decisions such as these, it’s rare that parents and children will be entirely on the same page across the board. Disagreement is to be expected, but don’t let it put a stop to discussions. Try to find a happy medium instead. For example, if parents are reluctant to receive full-time home care, try starting with a few hours a week or overnight care and potentially increasing down the road. When either party pushes to get their way, it may only make tensions rise.
During discussions about home health care, it’s also important to find a trustworthy and reliable service. For more information about MasterPeace Home Health Care’s services , call 508-758-3066 today.
After years of caring for their children, there comes a time in many parents’ lives when their children will have to care for them. When the time comes, it is important for adult children to be able to communicate honestly and openly with their parents’ physicians.
Attend Medical Appointments
When it comes to medical information, some language can be complicated or difficult to understand. This is why it is important to attend appointments with a senior parent, especially when it comes to treatment options or other sensitive information, in order to hear conversations firsthand. This is also an opportunity to exchange important information with the physician, including the best way that one can be reached in case of an emergency. All information learned in appointments should be shared with family members as well as trusted personal care staff.
Get It in Writing
Even for those with the best intentions, communication between physicians can be complicated. This is complicated further when the adult children communicating are not the patients themselves. Instead of taking physicians at face value, get everything in writing whenever possible. Now is also the time to consider a parent’s power of attorney so that it is clear who will be responsible for making decisions in case of emergencies.
Appoint One Family Liaison
Although it can seem that having every member of the family involved in a parent’s care is for the best so that seniors don’t feel isolated , this can sometimes dilute or confuse things when it comes to medical care. Instead, appoint a single family liaison who will always be in contact with the physician and disseminate the information back to the family. This way, messages are less likely to get mixed up.
Switch If Necessary
Sometimes, despite the best intentions, communicating with doctors can feel complicated or impossible. When all else fails, one should never feel bad about wanting to seek a new physician with whom communication may be easier.
When it comes to personal care for seniors, family involvement and open communication between family members and physicians cannot be underestimated. If you have questions about communicating with physicians or any other concerns about senior care, get in touch with MasterPeace Home Health Care at (508) 758-3066 today to learn more about our services.