How to Talk to Seniors With Dementia

How to Talk to Seniors With Dementia

If your loved one has dementia, talking to others can sometimes be a challenge. Often these challenges are a result of actions on the visitor’s part rather than your elderly loved one’s behavior.

Are you dealing with someone suffering from Alzheimer’s or Dementia?  Here is some great advice from the Alzheimer’s Association on communicating with your loved one.

Ten Absolutes – Absolutely Never!

  • NEVER ARGUE instead AGREE
  • NEVER REASON instead DIVERT
  • NEVER SHAME instead DISTRACT
  • NEVER LECTURE instead REASSURE
  • NEVER SAY “REMEMBER” instead REMINISCE
  • NEVER SAY “I TOLD YOU” instead REPEAT, REGROUP
  • NEVER SAY “YOU CAN’T” instead SAY “LET’S DO THIS”
  • NEVER COMMAND/DEMAND instead ASK/MODEL
  • NEVER CONDESCEND instead ENCOURAGE/PRAISE
  • NEVER FORCE instead REINFORCE

7 Tips for Talking to Seniors With Dementia

As a family caregiver, it can help if you share this information with visitors and family members.

1. Avoid Talking Down to Your Loved One

Often people talking to a loved one with dementia unconsciously talk down to the loved one as though they’re a child. Even in an advanced stage of dementia, this isn’t an appropriate way to talk to your loved one. It can make them feel trivialized and is just not the right way to communicate.

2. Use Names or Accepted Titles

Some visitors may try to use cute titles or words such as “sweetie” or “honey” when talking to your loved one. This is another way to talk down to your loved one and if your loved one doesn’t recognize the person, it can feel jarring to your loved one. Have visitors use your loved one’s name or their title, if it’s appropriate.

3. Make All Touches Gentle

Touching someone gently to gain their attention is a good idea, especially if your loved one is a little hard of hearing. Be careful to use this sparingly, however, and only if the visitor is someone that your loved one would be comfortable receiving a gentle touch from.

4. Yelling Isn’t Necessary

Some visitors think that they must yell or speak much more loudly than usual, whether your loved one is hard of hearing or not. Speaking clearly and enunciating are often all that your loved one needs from a speaker in order to understand what is being said.

5. Figures of Speech Can Be Difficult

As your loved one advances through the stages of dementia, figures of speech and other slang terminology may become difficult for them to understand. Some of these words and phrases may be ones that they’re used and understood in the past, but they may not be part of the memories they have access to anymore.

6. Be Patient

Some visitors don’t give elderly loved ones with dementia long enough to answer or to respond before turning to another person. This can make the elderly loved one feel that they aren’t really involved in the conversation and it’s rude. Your loved one may simply need a little extra time to carry on a conversation.

7. Eye Contact Helps

Making direct eye contact with your elderly loved one is a good idea. That way your loved one can use non-verbal cues and lip reading to understand what is being said. Smiling and other gestures help your loved one to feel more at ease.

It’s wonderful for other family members and friends to visit, but some may need to be careful about how they approach the conversation.

Contact Sonas for Dementia Home Care Services in Florida

If you or an aging loved one are considering home health care services in Florida, contact the caring staff at Sonas Home Health Care. Call today (888) 592-5855.

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