It might be difficult to communicate with someone who has Alzheimer’s disease or another kind of dementia. This is because, in addition to memory loss, one of the defining symptoms of dementia is difficulty expressing or comprehending concepts.
Here are some very useful tips for communication with your loved one:
- Do Not Treat Your Loved One as a Child
Do not talk down to them or treat them as if they are a child. This is referred to as “elderspeak,” and it is very disrespectful.
Have you ever noticed how people converse with babies? They may speak in a high-pitched tone and approach the baby’s face. While this is appropriate for newborns, it is inappropriate for adult communication. Treat the individual with dementia with respect and a polite tone of speech, regardless of how much they can or cannot grasp.
- Be Gentle with Your Loved One
While some individuals may get defensive if you enter their personal space, many people love a soft touch. It is crucial to understand how someone reacts to physical contact. As you converse with them, you may want to offer them a small touch on the shoulder or gently hold their hand. The human touch is vital and can be a great way to show that you care.
- Do Not Simply Talk with a Raised Voice
Because not everyone with dementia has hearing loss, employing a loud tone may make them feel as though you are shouting at them. To begin a discussion with someone, use a clear, natural tone of voice. You can raise your volume if the person does not answer or if you see they have a hearing difficulty. If someone has a hearing difficulty, speaking in a little lower register might also assist.
- Do Not Ignore Your Loved One
If you have a query, first ask the person to give him an opportunity to react before going to their family for an answer. Also, avoid speaking about the individual as if they are not present. They may know more than you think, so address them directly to show your respect.
- Put Your Physical Body at the Level of Theirs
Instead of standing up straight and staring down at someone who is seated, bow down to their level. This may make you physically uncomfortable, but it will help you have a more comfortable and courteous conversation.
- Do Not Overwhelm Them with Questions
Keep your queries to a minimum. During your visit, your purpose should be to encourage and offer encouragement, not to overwhelm them with a bundle of difficult-to-answer questions.
- Smile While Maintaining Eye Contact
A genuine grin might lessen the likelihood of problematic behaviors in dementia patients since the person may feel comforted by your nonverbal message. Your pleasant grin and eye contact show your delight in being with them, and they are two of the most vital aspects of interacting with anybody.