Dementia is a chronic disorder of the mental processes marked by a decline in memory, leading to difficulty in conversing.
When a loved one, friend, or resident has Alzheimer’s disease or any other type of dementia, it can be heartbreaking to see minor forgetfulness turn into severe impairment. Sadly, dementia does transform people into a shadow of their former selves, and holding a conversation with the person can become increasingly difficult.
Luckily, there are ways to reconnect with those who suffer from dementia through the means of steady and consistent communication.
Here are seven tips on how to effectively communicate with someone who has moderate to severe dementia:
- Understand dementia: The condition gets worse with time, and those who suffer from it, can find that it gets more difficult to understand people and communicate in general.
- Avoid distractions: Allow the resident or loved one to focus their mental energy on the conversation, and not on the busy surroundings.
- Speak clearly, naturally, and warmly: Avoid talking down to them and any other condescension.
- Use names: Reinforce their name and your name multiple times during the conversation and avoid using pronouns as this may confuse them.
- Be patient: Give the person extra time to process your question or comment. Don’t let frustration get the better of you.
- Allow mistakes: Avoid correcting every inaccurate statement as this will frustrate you and upset them.
- Know that there will be good days and bad days: Those with dementia will have ups and downs, just like anyone else.
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