Some Principles of Communication with People with Dementia
Seven tips for communicating with those who have dementia.
During daily interactions with my patients I have learned some principles of communication, action and understanding people with dementia. And I hope they are helpful to you and your loved ones.
#1 We must be calm, relaxed, and reassuring.
People with dementia will often grasp our mood by our body language and tone of voice. Thus we me may create agitation indirectly if we become irritated when a same question is asked for the 100s of time or make us upset when they drop something on the floor.
#2 Distraction can be helpful
With our daily interaction with dementia people, we must have learned already that there is no point in arguing when an individual with dementia tells you at 10 PM to “go to your home, its late.” In this case what works often is to distract them with activities that they enjoy such as looking photo albums, having a snack or take them to walk and may be listening to some music.
#3 It is important to keep them busy and engaged
Being idle is something that everyone hates. But finding what can be done to keep the individual with dementia busy, can be difficult. For example a coin collector may not be able to detect different coins as they used to do. So mix up some coins and ask them to sort it out. Mix them back and let them do again. This might keep them busy at least two hours.
Your grandma might love folding laundry, let her fold it. Once done shake it out and let her do it again.
#4 Involve family & friends
To the fact dementia is a team sport. Many feel that one can handle the person with dementia individually. But actually caring for those dementia is a work of more than one person. So it’s better to make your near one in family and friends aware of the patient’s dementia. So with combined effort it might be pretty convenient to handle the dementia person.
#5 Live in the moment
People with significant memory loss may not be able to discuss sport event, politics or even weather from past. But they enjoy discussing things that are directly in front of them. Strolling through a picture gallery, zoo or some garden might make them an enjoyable discussion.
#6 Accept that some things cannot be fixed
There are many changes in the people with dementia and that must be accepted. In addition to the losing the ability to work, drive or pursuing hobbies, it is very obvious to loss the relationship like – between husband and wife, parent and child. So acceptance helps a lot.
#7 Seek joy in their liked activities
One must seek out activities that are loved by the patients. Like take a walk in park, meeting family and friends being social, play game or just hold hands, sit and talk. For without joy, life with or without dementia would hardly be worth living.
For any consultation on how to treat patient with dementia, consult Dr. Vishal Jogi.