Dementia Care: How to Do It Better, Including Effective Communication
For anyone showing signs of dementia or undergoing a progression into Alzheimer’s disease, receiving care in a memory assisted living facility is one way to ensure optimum comfort and safety. This is especially true if you’re too busy to look after a senior loved one or that you can only spare a small amount of time.
Whether you are a primary caregiver or not, it’s best to arm yourself with strategies on how to better care and deal with dementia patients. Because as the disease progresses, taking care of an aging loved one can be a real challenge.
Strategies for Better Dementia Care
Understand the effects of dementia
It’s one thing to know that your parent or both parents are in the early stages of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. It’s an altogether different story to know how the condition will affect patients over time.
Knowing that forgetfulness will become more prominent over time will make it easier for you to communicate with a parent and to tolerate whatever inconvenience they will cause.
It is also important to know that dementia care patients would have less control over their feelings and the ability to properly express them. This way, you can react appropriately if a patient experiences rapid mood changes or is often irritable.
Knowing dementia and its impact on a patient’s emotions and feelings is the key to better take care of a patient.
Change the way you communicate
Effective communication deteriorates as dementia progresses. There will come a time when having a simple conversation with a senior will be hard to do.
As a solution:
- Carry out a conversation only at a place where there is little to no distraction. This way, a patient can focus all their mental energy on what you guys are talking about.
- Speak naturally and clearly and be sure to maintain a calm and warm voice.
- Avoid using pronouns. Instead, refer to people by names for easy recognition and flow of conversation. The same goes for when you’re referring to yourself.
- Endeavor to talk about one thing at the time. Most patients with dementia have difficulty juggling multiple threads of conversations, much less keep track of them.
- Learn how to use nonverbal cues to help ease the flow of conversation.
- Make eye contact when you introduce yourself and all throughout the chat.
- Be patient and smile Even when an aging loved one doesn’t cooperate. It could be Alzheimer’s disease that is causing confusion and slow mental processing.
- Use the power of touch to diffuse a situation. A simple touch can help a loved one who is acting negatively to stay calm.
- Use hand gestures for better understanding. If they are trying to tell you something, for example, urge them to point or make gestures.
- Project positive body language by maintaining an open posture and good eye contact.
Be aware of the signs of good and bad days
Patients with dementia will have their ups and downs like anyone else, except that they’re worse than normal. If you notice that a senior loved one is more irritable than usual, change your approach when dealing with them.
There is no one formula to properly care for someone with dementia. But if you know the basics, taking care of them at home or in a memory assisted living facility is easier on you and the patient.
Richmont Senior Living is proud to serve Ashland, NE and the surrounding cities: Memphis, Springfield, South Bend, Greenwood, Murdock, Waverly, Murdock, Ithaca, and Chalco