You can often find it challenging to communicate with an individual with dementia. Since dementia causes short and long-term memory loss, a family member with dementia may not recognize you during a meeting. At other times, individual suffering from dementia may have difficulty keeping track of the conversation. They may also have issues aligning their chain of thought and forming a complete sentence.
Due to dementia issues, conversations with a patient can often take confusing turns. It can also cause an individual to feel frustrated when trying to convey their message to the person with dementia. To communicate effectively with an individual with dementia, you must be a good listener, have patience, and adapt to different communication strategies.
What can you Expect?
For better dementia care and effective communication, you need to know what to expect from a patient. Once you do, you will be able to recognize patterns in their communication, allowing you to understand the feedback they are trying to convey. Below are some aspects and communication behaviors a person with dementia can display.
- Trouble figuring out the right word to say
- Replacing the right words with the wrong ones
- Describe the appearance of an object because it forgot its name.
- Intertwining different stories together that happened in different time zones
- Not being able to continue a train of thought
- Constantly repeating the same stories, questions, or statements
How You Can Help
When communicating with a person with dementia, you must be empathetic, patient, and tolerant. Understand that dementia care involves communicating and listening to a person with dementia effectively without being insensitive.
Speaking to a person with dementia requires being a patient guesser. Many times, the individual will break down sentences and make you wait for responses simply because they cannot comprehend and verbalize a particular idea. In this instance, you need to recognize cues and judge the context to better understand what they’re trying to say.
Another thing that you need to consider is respect and comfort. If you are comforting and welcoming to the person with dementia, the patient will be more confident in speaking to you despite their troubles. Be calm, and make them feel respected so that you can earn their trust. This means keeping your sentences short and straightforward. Acknowledge that they have a problem, but do not make them feel marginalized simultaneously.
If you or anyone you know suffers from dementia and needs expert treatment and therapy, visit us at EQC Occupational Therapy. We offer patients a team of experts with a long line of experience in dealing with and treating issues pertaining to dementia.