Ways to Facilitate Communication with a Loved One Who Has Dementia

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Tips to Facilitate Communication with a Loved One Who Has Dementia in Portland, ME

Knowing how to talk to a senior with dementia helps you show respect. Good communication also makes it easier to be your aging loved one’s caregiver. These tips may help you feel more comfortable talking to your loved one as his or her dementia progresses. 

Be Specific

Seniors with dementia may have difficulty understanding generalities. For instance, your parent may not always be able to figure out who you’re talking about when you mention his or her sister. When referring to people or places, try to use specific names. Being specific can jump-start the memory for seniors who find it challenging to make connections. 

Living with dementia can make it difficult for seniors to manage daily tasks. If your senior loved one needs help managing an illness or assistance with daily tasks, make sure you choose a top-rated provider of senior care. Home Care Assistance is here to help your loved one live a happier and healthier life in the golden years. From the mentally stimulating activities in our Cognitive Therapeutics Method to our friendly Care Managers who are available to answer your questions 24 hours a day, we offer a wide array of high-quality at-home care services.

Try Rephrasing

While being specific works most of the time, you may also need to flip your technique in the other direction. If names confuse your loved one, try mentioning his or her relationship to a person or place. Rephrasing also works when you need to adjust to your loved one’s unique communication needs. If your loved one fails to understand something, try switching to a shorter, less complicated sentence to see if that helps. 

Stick to the Topic

Trying to follow multiple threads of conversation is difficult for most people in general. For a senior with dementia, this task becomes even more challenging. Try addressing only one topic at a time. For instance, you may want to ask your loved one’s preferences for dinner. Then you can ask your loved one to talk about his or her day later as you eat. 

Incorporate Nonverbal Cues

A lot can be said by using body language, and combining nonverbal cues with your speech may reinforce your point. For instance, you can point at the door as you ask your loved one to follow you. Nonverbal cues can also be images. Holding up pictures as you talk can make it easier for your loved one to pick up on what you’re trying to communicate. Alternatively, you can let your parent point at a list of pictures if he or she has difficulty coming up with certain words. 

Caring for a senior with dementia can be challenging for family caregivers. Luckily, there is dementia care Portland families can rely on. Professional dementia caregivers help seniors with dementia stay safe and comfortable at home by preventing wandering, providing cognitive stimulation, and assisting with household chores.

Use a Respectful Tone

Older adults with dementia should be protected. However, that doesn’t mean they should be treated like children. Using a condescending voice similar to baby talk is a common mistake you should avoid. Although your loved one cannot always respond coherently, it’s possible he or she understands every word you say. Speak in a clear version of your normal voice to preserve your loved one’s dignity while also making it easier to focus on what you have to say. 

Be Willing to Adapt

As time passes, most seniors with dementia experience more difficulties with communication. The strategies you use one day may not continue to work as the condition progresses. Make sure to change your techniques as needed to enhance communication. If necessary, ask professional dementia caregivers to share what works for them, or join a support group where you can connect with other people who are successfully working through similar challenges. 

If your senior loved one has been diagnosed with a serious condition and needs help with tasks like meal prep, transportation, bathing, and grooming, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of elderly home care Portland, ME, families can trust. We also offer comprehensive care for seniors with dementia, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s. To learn about our high-quality in-home care services, give us a call at (207) 835-4849 today.

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