Dementia is a progressive condition that gradually affects a person’s cognitive functioning. It can affect language, their ability to remember, and how they express emotions, which can make communicating with them challenging. While every situation may not be preventable, there are some things that you can do to help soothe agitation and make it calmer for everyone. Understanding their emotions, needs, and wishes can help you continue to care for your loved ones as the dementia progresses.
When someone is coping with dementia, their ability to process information is not as strong as it once was. Be patient with them. Give them time to respond, and don’t try and rush them or speed up their answers. Even with advanced dementia, it’s important to continuously encourage a sense of autonomy and to involve them in conversations, decision making, and speaking for themselves in discussions about their health and welfare.
Using small sentences will help make information more digestible for them. When having conversations, speak clearly and slowly while making eye contact with them and when you or they are talking or asking questions, enunciate clearly. Acknowledge the responses that you are given, even if what they say seems out of context or may not have answered the question you were asking. Try and encourage them to elaborate on what they’ve said to learn more about what they are trying to express, and to let them know that they are heard.
When approaching an individual with dementia, take time to form a connection each time you begin an interaction. Dementia can be very scary for your loved ones, as they are experiencing new situations that they may not be able to comprehend, and the more you can do to be a reassurance and safe place, the easier it will be. They will pick up on your emotions, so try and be a calming presence. When possible, keep your tone of voice friendly and positive. As a dementia caregiver or family member, you may need to be more perceptive towards non-verbal cues such as body language and facial expressions.
Dealing with Alzheimer’s and other dementias can be a difficult journey. Dementia can change many aspects of a relationship, and this can be difficult to navigate alone. Consider joining a support group for family caregivers of individuals with cognitive decline and reach out to our experienced team, who will be happy to help you and your loved ones through this process.
If you or someone in your family are facing these or other aging related challenges, please give us a call at (920) 740-8441 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ll be happy to assist!