Some caregivers find that talking to an elderly family member with dementia gets more and more difficult. While that can be true because of cognitive changes, there are still some steps you can take to keep the conversation productive.
When you’re having trouble communicating with your aging adult, it’s normal to start experiencing a bit of dread. You might tense up and your facial expression might not be the one you really want to be wearing. Shake all that off and try your best to approach every interaction as the brand new interaction that it is. Do what you can to be positive about this attempt.
Make Sure You’ve Got Her Attention
If you’re not able to get your senior’s attention, you’re not going to have the interaction you hope to have. Check the environment and see if there’s anything that you can adjust, like the volume on the television. Look your senior in the eye and wait for her to have eye contact with you. you may find that other little gestures, like gently touching her, help her to keep her focus on you.
Listen and Watch
When you’re paying careful attention, you can start to notice when you no longer have your senior’s attention and when she’s confused. Use those visual cues to help you to monitor and adjust what you’re doing to communicate with her. Listen also to what responses your senior is giving you. You can still read between the lines a good bit to figure out how she’s taking what you’re saying.
Use Simple Language and Break up Complicated Ideas
The best thing you can do when you’re communicating with someone who has dementia is to speak clearly and concisely as much as possible. Simplify your language and use words that she’s familiar with and that she uses herself. That can help her to grasp your full meaning. If you’re talking about something complicated or giving her instructions, make sure to break them up. Step-by-step instructions are so much easier to handle one at a time.
Just like starting out from a positive place, you’re going to need to relax during the conversation. If you’re tense and uptight, that’s going to translate to your senior very easily. Lots of times these interactions start to devolve for one reason or another, like maybe your senior is tired. Take a step back and revisit it when the situation isn’t so tense.
You can also lean on home care providers a bit during this time. They can help you to master some of these techniques and even try a few others that might work better with your senior’s particular situation. If you’re shooting for perfection, you might be more frustrated than you need to be.
IF YOU OR AN AGING LOVED-ONE ARE CONSIDERING HOME CARE IN SURPRISE, AZ, CONTACT THE CARING STAFF AT GOLDEN HEART SENIOR CARE. CALL TODAY (623) 748-3301.