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How to Communicate with Older Adults with Dementia

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Seniors living with dementia tend to enjoy regular social contact with their friends and family members. However, the symptoms of dementia sometimes create challenges for communication. You can use the following tips to enhance your ability to speak with a senior loved one with dementia. 

Assess Your Loved One’s Mood 

People with dementia often experience mood swings throughout the day. Before you try to have a serious conversation, check in with your loved one to see how he or she feels. If your loved one is relaxed and comfortable, he or she will be better able to communicate with you. 

If your senior loved one has been diagnosed with a serious condition and needs help with tasks like meal prep, transportation, bathing, and grooming, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of senior care Henderson, NV, families can trust. We also offer comprehensive care for seniors with dementia, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s.

Capture Your Loved One’s Attention 

Your loved one may not always be able to tell when someone is talking to him or her. Begin your conversations by letting your loved one know you want his or her attention. For instance, you can say your loved one’s name or place your hand on his or her arm as you make eye contact. Then, wait for a response back that lets you know you have your loved one’s attention. 

Use Simple Sentences 

Although you should never talk down to your loved one, you may need to choose your words carefully to keep your statements clear. Try to use short, simple sentences and questions that allow your loved one to give a response. You can also use basic vocabulary to ensure his or her understanding. 

Provide Time to Clarify

It may take a little longer for your loved one to comprehend the meaning of a statement, or he or she may need more time to formulate an answer. Try to avoid filling in the blanks, and let your loved one speak for him or herself as much as possible. If you anticipate challenges during a specific conversation, make sure you don’t start it until you know there is enough time to let your loved one respond. 

Caring for older adults with dementia can be a challenging task. Families who find it difficult to care for their aging loved ones without assistance can benefit greatly from professional respite care. Henderson, NV, family caregivers who need a break from their caregiving duties can turn to Home Care Assistance. Using our proprietary Balanced Care Method, our respite caregivers can encourage your loved one to eat well, exercise regularly, get plenty of mental and social stimulation, and focus on other lifestyle factors that promote longevity.

Try Rephrasing Your Words 

Sometimes, family caregivers keep repeating the same question in the hopes that their loved one will understand. However, you may find that changing your word choices or switching from a question to a statement helps your loved one understand what you are saying. After several tries, alter how you approach the conversation until you find the right way to get a point across. 

Provide Physical Clues 

Your loved one may also begin to rely more upon nonverbal communication as he or she faces difficulty with language comprehension. Use animated facial expressions and gestures to help you express your emotions verbally. You can also point toward the items you are talking about or use pictures to further illustrate what you want to say. 

Know When to Take a Break

While using these tips helps with communication, there may be times when your loved one gets frustrated trying to talk. When frustration builds up, simply step away for a minute or ask another caregiver to step in. By keeping agitation down to a minimum, you can look forward to chatting with your loved one again.

Dementia is a serious health issue that impacts an older adult’s health, independence, and overall quality of life. If your senior loved one needs help managing an illness or assistance with daily tasks, make sure you choose a top-rated provider of home care. Henderson Home Care Assistance is here to help your loved one live a happier and healthier life in the golden years. From the mentally stimulating activities in our Cognitive Therapeutics Method to our friendly Care Managers who are available to answer your questions 24 hours a day, we offer a wide array of high-quality at-home care services. To learn about our premier in-home care options, give us a call at (702) 527-7723 today.

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