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Dementia How to Talk to a Loved One or Patient with Dementia

If you have a senior loved one with dementia or Alzheimer’s Disease, often one of the biggest obstacles you will face is communication. Conversations can be challenging since dementia affects a person’s ability to understand, stay focused, and respond. With a diminished mental capacity, your senior loved one may become frustrated – and you might too. But this can be avoided. The key is to be prepared for conversations that set your senior up for success. Below, read through our best tips that will help you communicate better with your loved one.

Prepare yourself before conversations. Put yourself into a calm and relaxed mindset. Remind yourself to be patient with your senior, who you love and care about. Your attitude can make a huge impact, so try your best to be pleasant and make your actions sincere.

Create a comfortable environment. You can help your senior focus better by eliminating distractions from their surroundings, such as TV noise or bold or vibrant patterns. Be in a well-lit area, keep your body language relaxed, and get their full attention by saying their name or gently touching their shoulder.

Make the conversation easy to understand. Since understanding and focus may be difficult for your senior, be sure to keep your language clear and concise, short and to the point. Speak calmly, clearly, and slowly – you want to give your senior time to process each sentence before you begin a new one. Refer to people by their names rather than by “he” or “she,” and if your senior does not understand a question, try to rephrase it instead of just repeating it.

Use friendly non-verbal communication, too. While physically speaking is critical, your body language and other non-verbal actions are as well. Give a friendly smile or make gentle eye contact to help your senior feel comfortable to both listen and respond.

For more tips and advice on the best way to communicate with your senior loved one with dementia, please reach out to our caregivers here at HouseWorks. If you would like to learn more about our dementia care or other senior care services, give us a call to schedule your consultation.