Individuals living with dementia are unable to explain what they are thinking and feeling a great deal of the time. They cannot communicate with their loved ones and this may present a number of challenges. However, there are certain things every person suffering from this disease would like those around them to know.
When you are interacting with someone who has dementia, be certain to smile as often as possible. Humans recognize a smile in any language, and this provides comfort for dementia patients who may not remember where they are or who they are speaking with. The smile shows that this person is someone they can feel comfortable with and the man or woman isn’t there to do them harm. If the person is tense and uptight, the dementia patient picks up on this and becomes tense and uptight as well. Body language and behaviors are of great importance, so be sure to remember this at all times when speaking with a dementia patient.
Take It Slow
Remember the disease affects the dementia patient’s memory. For this reason, talk slowly and clearly and explain things in easy to understand terms. Carrying on a long, drawn-out conversation will simply confuse the person because they can’t remember what was said at the beginning of the conversation by the time it reaches the end. Make a statement or ask a question and allow them to respond. Otherwise, he or she will likely disagree with everything simply because they can’t remember what they are being asked to do. As a result, they aren’t sure how to respond and it is easier to say no than to ask for it to be explained again.
Never speak to a person suffering from dementia as if they are a child. They are still an adult, just one with memory issues. Talk to them on an age-appropriate level so they don’t feel as if they are dumb or inadequate in some way. People often do this and then come back and apologize for their behavior. However, this does not work with someone who is suffering from dementia as they don’t remember what happened earlier. They just know that they don’t feel comfortable with the person who made them feel inadequate and it negatively affects future interactions.
Write Things Down
To help a dementia patient remember things, write them down. Doing so takes very little time and effort on your part, but it will be of great help to them when they need to recall information. Encourage the individual to do the same. If they wish to ask someone a question or want to remember to do something later in the day, have them make a note. They can then refer to this note so they don’t forget what it is that needed to be done. This can also be of great help in ensuring they carry out routine tasks. They follow the schedule and know everything has been taken care of when needed.
Memory issues tend to be very frustrating. By recalling the above information, individuals who love the person suffering from these issues will find interactions are less stressful. Everyone feels comfortable together and the time is well spent engaging with each other rather than arguing or becoming frustrated. Try them today and see how they change your relationship for the better.