6 Tips for Communicating with Seniors with Dementia

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As dementia progresses, affected seniors have more and more difficulty conveying their thoughts and properly interpreting their surroundings, which makes communication a challenge. Communicating incorrectly soon becomes a lesson in frustration for the caregiver and the senior. However, there are many ways caregivers can overcome the issue by using a few tips and tricks.

1. Have Empathy

Seniors living with dementia often become frustrated when they are unable to effectively express themselves verbally or cannot comprehend what someone is trying to tell them. Understand the cognitive decline caused by the disorder, and feel empathy for your loved one. The tone of your voice and the words you choose can prevent anger and frustration. 

Speech impairment can have negative effects on an aging adult’s overall health and wellbeing. If you have a senior loved one who needs help maintaining a high quality of life while aging in place, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of home care Milford families can rely on. All of our caregivers are bonded, licensed, and insured, there are no hidden fees, and we never ask our clients to sign long-term contracts.

2. Speak at a Normal Speed & Volume

Face your loved one when talking. Talk at a normal speed and avoid raising the pitch of your voice. Speaking quickly, talking too loud, or using a high-pitched voice may cause frustration, agitation, and anger. The irritation created by the abnormal sound might be similar to what some people experience when hearing nails scratching a chalkboard.

3. Have Patience

Give your loved one enough time to answer in case it’s difficult to accurately say what he or she is thinking or feeling. Ask the question again if your loved one does not respond the first time. Avoid rewording your question or response. Your loved one may feel you are coming at him or her with more than one train of thought, which may cause confusion or frustration.

If your elderly loved one is living with a serious medical condition and needs help managing the tasks of daily living, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a Milford home care agency you can trust. Our caregivers are available 24/7, there are no hidden fees in our contracts, and we offer a 100% satisfaction guarantee on all of our in-home care services.

4. Avoid Complex Questions

When questions are posed in such a way as to require thinking or remembering, seniors with dementia are often unable to respond due to the deficits caused by the disease process. Similarly, long, wordy questions also prove difficult to comprehend. The damaged brain cannot process the information.

5. Simplify Requests

The memory loss seniors with dementia experience prevents them from remembering the steps involved in completing tasks. Older adults with dementia also often jumble the order of the steps needed to accomplish various activities. If your loved one seems to be having difficulty performing a certain task, guide him or her one step at a time. Once again, empathy and patience are important.

6. Resist Arguing or Correcting

Seniors with dementia lack the logic and reasoning abilities needed to defend themselves in an argument. If your loved one remembers events incorrectly or demonstrates confusion in terms of person, place, or time, do not argue. Correcting your loved one to remember unpleasant events could cause unnecessary emotional distress. Divert the conversation. Try validation when your loved one makes an incorrect observation or statement. There may be an underlying reason his or her memory hones in on a certain person, place, or time. Perhaps the situation was particularly pleasing or rewarding. Reassure your loved one that you understand why the event creates a special feeling.

Caring for a senior loved one with dementia can be overwhelming. If you are the primary caregiver for a senior family member and you need respite care, Milford, CT, Home Care Assistance is here to help. Our respite caregivers are trained to assist older adults with a wide variety of everyday tasks, including meal prep, physical activity, and personal hygiene. We also provide 24-hour care and specialized care for seniors with Alzheimer’s, dementia, and Parkinson’s. Call us at (203) 955-1915 to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation today.