When having a conversation with your senior loved one with dementia, it can be difficult to see them have a hard time with communication – and it can be particularly frustrating for them to struggle. Unfortunately, symptoms of dementia often include the inability to think, focus, understand, and respond to conversation. But there are a few things you can do to set your senior up for a successful conversation ahead of time. Learn how you can make communication easier with our advice below.
The first step often starts with yourself – yes, it’s true! It is very important for you to be calm and in a relaxed state of mind, because you want your attitude to be pleasant and your actions to feel sincere to your senior. Give yourself a reminder to be patient with them as well.
Set the Environment
Are you calm and relaxed? Good, now you can make the environment feel the same way. Eliminate any distractions, like loud noises and bright colors or patterns, and keep the space tranquil. The area should also be well-lit to help your senior see you clearly and help them be more attentive.
Speak Slowly and Clearly
Give yourself a gentle reminder that your senior will likely have a hard time focusing and comprehending the conversation. Now apply this to how you are speaking. You want to speak slowly and clearly while doing your best to enunciate your words. Be sure to give your senior enough time to process what you are saying and use specific names when referring to people and places. If your senior doesn’t understand something, try rephrasing rather than repeating.
Be Aware of Your Non-Verbal Actions
Don’t forget to pay attention to your body language and non-verbal actions, which can have just as great an impact as your physical speech. A friendly smile or making gentle eye contact can go a long way to helping your senior feel relaxed and more apt to respond.
At Home Care Assistance of Tampa, we acknowledge the hardships that come along with caring for a senior loved one with dementia. We want you to know our expert caregivers are here for you at any time. If you need more guidance on our dementia care services or advice on communicating with your senior, please give us a call at (813) 302-7632 and schedule your consultation.