Caring for Someone with Dementia? Make Communication Easier.

If you are caring for a person with dementia, you understand how difficult communication can be. There are simple things you can do to make communicating easier.

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Caring for Someone with Dementia? Make Communication Easier.
4 Min Read September 27th, 2021

Dementia is a condition that makes it difficult for a person to remember things, communicate with others, think clearly, and take care of themselves. Dementia affects a person, and its repercussions reach the family and loved ones of the patient as well. Dementia causes mood swings and confabulation (false memories), which may even cause changes to a person's personality which eventually affects the people around that person. 

Some of these dementia symptoms may be managed with medicines prescribed by a specialist. Drugs like Aricept, Exelon, and Razadyne can help improve their memory and judgment, allowing for better communication. Several other medications are now being used for various forms of dementia, but they are not cures. The costs of prescription drugs can vary; you can compare drug prices for dementia patients and order them at your doorstep at your convenience.

Being a family caregiver for someone with dementia is not an easy task. There are several behavioral problems and other difficulties that come with dementia. Here are some tips if you find yourself having to be a full or part-time caregiver so you can better communicate and provide proper care.

Ways to Communicate with Someone with Dementia

Improving your communication skills will greatly enhance the quality of your relationship with the dementia patient. Good communication skills will help you handle the difficult behavior that those with dementia sometimes exhibit. 

  • Set a positive mood for interaction

Your body language and attitude express your feelings and thoughts, and a person with dementia starts to rely on non-verbal communication to understand what is being communicated to them. Set a positive mood around a dementia patient. Use your facial expressions, physical touch, gestures, and tone of voice to convey your message while helping them complete their tasks. Remember, your tone of voice and facial expressions help you communicate even if they have lost their ability to comprehend words.

  • Get the person's attention.

Limit noises and distractions around the person. Turn off the TV or radio, close the curtains or move the person to a quieter place. Make sure you have their attention while interacting with them. Stay still and in the person's line of vision while you are talking.

  • State your message clearly.

Speak to the person as an adult; do not treat them as a child. However, use simple sentences and words. Speak distinctly and in a reassuring tone. Refrain from raising your voice; instead, pitch your voice lower. If the person you are caring for doesn't understand you first, repeat your message. If the person still doesn't understand you, rephrase your question and repeat after some time. Use names of places and people instead of using pronouns.

  • Ask simple, answerable questions.

Ask questions with a yes or no answer as they work better with dementia patients. Refrain from asking open-ended questions as it might confuse them. Instead, ask simple choice questions such as "Would you like to eat an apple or an orange?" Show them the choices which you are offering. Visual cues and prompts help the person clarify and guide their response.

  • When the situation gets tough, distract and redirect. 

In case your loved one becomes agitated, try changing the subject or their surrounding. For example, ask the person for help or suggest going for a walk and get some fresh air. Help them communicate their feeling like, "I understand you are feeling upset; let's go get something to eat." Whatever you do - do not overreact and always stay aware of the triggers that may start difficult behavior.

  • Remember the good days.

Remembering the past is very soothing. Many dementia patients may not remember what happened half an hour ago, but they can clearly remember their lives several years earlier. Avoid asking questions that are based on short-term memory, like asking what they had for lunch. Instead, ask questions about their past which they would like to discuss and share with you.

These simple suggestions can make the role of being a caregiver easier when your loved one has dementia. However, there will be a time as dementia progresses, you will either need respite care, more formal in-home care provided by professionals, or you will have to move your loved one to memory care in a facility.

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About the Author

Jennifer Ford is a content writer/Blogger at ReadMyBlogOnline. She writes on multiple categories on health, Travel, Food, Fitness and Lifestyle. She has just started her career in the Blogging field. Apart from Blogging she enjoys cooking, reading books and playing tennis with her friends in her spare time.

LTC News Contributor Jennifer Ford

Jennifer Ford

Contributor since September 27th, 2021

Editor's Note

Dementia is one of many health issues that will adversely affect our family and finances as we get older. Every three seconds, someone in the world develops dementia. With over 50 million people worldwide suffering from cognitive decline, planning for the future costs and burdens of aging is vital for retirement planning.

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