When the challenge of dementia or Alzheimer’s befalls a family, they may feel hopeless and demotivated because of the situation. However, there are numerous ways to smoothen the caregiving road ahead and make your patient feel loved.
Here are the top ways to communicate with Alzheimer’s and dementia patients:
Don’t show signs of frustration
Alzheimer’s and dementia patients will forget many things, and it can be frustrating to repeat yourself over and over again. However, always try to empathize with them by putting yourself in their shoes. Don’t show them any sign of frustration. When you feel that you’re starting to be impatient, remember to take a short break. Never ask them to remember something or even to try to remember by reminding them that you already explained before.
Keep communication short
Make your conversations short, simple, and clear. Try to simplify everything by extracting one information at a time. For example, instead of talking in paragraphs, try to talk with one to two-liners only, and wait for their response before continuing with your statement.
Call your loved one by name
Even though they may forget what their name is, always call a patient by their name. You can also subtly remind them what your name is without making them feel embarrassed that they forgot.
Make them feel included
When talking in a room of people, always make your patient feel included. Avoid any instances of talking in front of them as if they weren’t included in the conversation.
It is also important to speak slowly because it may take a while for your patient to understand what you’re saying. Make an effort to enhance your manner of speaking, especially with your diction.
Ask questions that are answerable by ‘Yes’ or ‘No’
When asking questions, such as whether their food was delicious or if they want to go outside, always use closed-ended questions that are answerable by “yes” or “no.”
Always use familiar language
Instead of using slang words, try to practice speaking with simple terms. Keep in mind that patients may not be able to cope with new or slang terms or phrases.
Be sensitive enough not to humiliate the patient
A person with dementia may easily forget details. However, he or she can still feel humiliated, which will result in a loss of confidence. When you notice that they start to feel flustered because of confusion, try to distract them with another topic. Avoid using language that will make them feel as if they are illiterate. Be careful of sarcastic or ironic comments that may sound funny to you because it will most likely hurt their feelings or make them feel confused.
Be careful of upsetting them with the truth
When asked with questions that may cause confusion, try to think of witty ways to answer without worsening the situation. For example, when they ask where a long lost doll is, instead of saying it’s no longer around, try to say that it’s not with you at the moment.
Use body language
If you notice that your patient is not responsive, try to use other ways to communicate. You can communicate through non-verbal languages, such as smiling, making eye contact, or patting their back to keep their attention.
The care of persons with dementia or Alzheimer’s presents a challenge to caregivers or the caregiving family, specifically in how to communicate with them. With effective communication skills that are sensitive to the struggles that they go through, you will be rewarded with a special bond of care and companionship.
If you’re looking for chronic care management services, get in touch with us today to see how we can help.