There are currently 850,000 people in the UK living with Dementia. For sufferers, maintaining independence while living with dementia can be increasingly difficult as the illness progresses. Dementia can be difficult and affects not only the sufferer but also their friends and family. As the patient’s condition deteriorates it can be difficult for families to see their loved one change. People with Dementia experience a decline in brain function which can affect the way they speak, think, feel and behave, making carrying out daily activities difficult. Many will need to live in a care home, especially in the later stages of the illness.
Some of the greatest challenges day to day when caring for dementia patients, can be the personality and behavioural changes. Which can be difficult to control if the person experiences irritability, aggression or anger. So, we have developed a list of tips to help you communicate better, when patients experience this decline.
Tips For Better Communication With A Dementia Patient
- Be PositiveA patient with dementia may not always understand what you’re trying to talk to them about, but they can understand your tone, facial expressions and body language. If you remain positive when interacting with them it will set a positive mood for your communications.
- Use HumourEveryone loves a good laugh, and that doesn’t change when you develop dementia. Sharing a good joke can be a good way to start a conversation.
- Ask Simple QuestionsBe clear and ask simple questions. It can be frustrating for dementia patients when they don’t understand, yes/no questions tend to work best as they are less overwhelming. Be patient and listen when they reply as it can take them time to formulate a response.
- Break Down Tasks Or Activities Into Achievable StepsDon’t overwhelm the patient, breaking down tasks will make the whole process less confusing for them, and more manageable. Use gentle reminders if the patient forgets the steps, this is a great way to keep them from getting discouraged by things they don’t remember.
- Reassure ThemDon’t overwhelm the patient, breaking down tasks will make the whole process less confusing for them, and more manageable. Use gentle reminders if the patient forgets the steps, this is a great way to keep them from getting discouraged by things they don’t remember.
- ReminisceMany Dementia sufferers will be able to recall things from many years ago but not things from just a few hours ago. Reminiscing about old times is a great way to interact with the patient and get them to talk. Short term questions can be difficult and frustrating for them.