Tips for Communicating with a Person Who Suffers from Dementia

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If you have a loved one with dementia, you might already know firsthand the challenges of achieving meaningful communication with him. However, you can cultivate effective exchanges between you and your friend or family member by using a few simple strategies. With these tips, you and your loved one can continue to enjoy satisfying conversations despite the limitations of dementia.

Use Simple Language
Key to cultivating successful exchanges with a loved one is expressing your thoughts or questions with pared down language. Using complex phrases or unusual terminology with a person who has dementia can result in a rapid breakdown of communication. If your friend or family member cannot comprehend what you are saying to them, they may become emotionally distraught, which may further hinder your efforts to talk with them. Simple words and phrases normally work best to convey thoughts to those in dementia care.

Maintain Focus
Communication with a friend or family member who has dementia may take considerably longer than a conversation with someone else. Be sure to make time to accommodate the needs of your loved one. If your friend or family member senses that you are trying to rush his answer, it can lead to sadness, confusion, and embarrassment. Instead, present your thought or question and wait for his reply with your complete attention on his response.

Incorporate Body Language
Communication need not always come in the form of verbalized words. You can also facilitate exchanges with your loved one by using your body language to communicate for you. For instance, when it comes time to prepare dinner, you can point to a given dish instead of explaining it to see if your friend or family member wants to eat it. In addition, you can encourage your loved one to express himself through non-verbal responses if articulating their preferences proves too difficult in a given moment.

The dementia care professionals at Avalon Memory Care come with the expertise necessary to cultivate a warm and supportive assisted living environment. To learn more about our home-like environment we offer for the Dallas and Fort Worth community, call (214) 752-7050. You can also visit our website for additional information on our complete line of services.