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How to Communicate With a Parent With Dementia?

home help care services in the UK

Having a parent diagnosed with dementia can seem like an overwhelming situation. How will you and your family members cope? What will communication be like in the future as their condition deteriorates? As is well-known, it’s common for dementia patients to experience difficulties in communicating, especially in understanding conversations. But it is also likely that their personalities may start changing, leading to feelings of being lost or confused. It’s important that you are mentally prepared for the road ahead and create realistic expectations. This is because as their condition deteriorates, your methods of communication will change as well.

Dementia communication techniques

Because communication problems are a key part of dementia, you may often find that your parent struggles to find the right word to express themselves or even have difficulties in following conversations. This can lead to loss of confidence, withdrawal, frustration and sadness. You can help keep these feelings to a minimum by following these useful communication strategies for dementia patients.

Keep communicating: One of the main dementia communication difficulties is communication, broadly speaking. It may be an easier option to stop or reduce communicating with your parent simply because you don’t know how. But there is a way around this. For example, if you were to call in an expert from home health care services, they would always use a warm tone of voice, never raising their voice, causing unnecessary noise and leading to an internal emotional shutdown. It’s also important that you allow your parent time to respond. Although it may be slower than usual, it simply means you need to be a bit more patient.

Another important aspect is to accept lulls and silences in conversations and make space for them. They are a natural part of conversing and you shouldn’t pressure your loved one to continue talking when it’s not natural to do so. Finally, if a misunderstanding occurs because either you or your parent didn’t understand what was being said, learn to laugh about it. Don’t be afraid to introduce humour into your conversations.

Care needs for dementia patients in the UK

Ask questions with straightforward answers: An important no-no when dealing with a dementia patient is asking questions that may have complicated answers. Keep questions close-ended with yes/no answers only. Alternatively, keep open-ended questions to a minimum. Also, avoid asking them if they remember someone or something. This is likely to frustrate them and make them feel sad for not being able to remember. When communicating, keep your sentences short and simple. In addition, try not to speak in general or vague terms. For example, instead of saying he or she, use the actual name of the person instead.

Maintain eye contact and engage in active listening: Experts from home care services in the UK will also ensure that they maintain eye contact with your parent and engage in active listening. Active listening means interjecting with a “yes” or a nod from time to time to show that you are paying attention. Also worthwhile is paying attention to body language – both yours and your parent’s. Avoid fast and drastic movements on your side. Alternatively, be mindful of how they are sitting or standing and look out for any cues that signal that they may be uncomfortable. Another important way to improve communication and listening is to avoid distractions such as having the sound of radios or TVs on. It’s also important to pay attention to the feelings that are being expressed as opposed to the words that are being said.

Exercise patience: A professional home care worker looking after your parent will also be highly adept at exercising patience. This may mean having to repeat certain questions or statements a couple of times and waiting patiently for a response.

Home health care services in the United Kingdom

Don’t criticise or correct them: Although your parent with dementia may be progressively deteriorating, this does not mean that you should talk to or treat them like a child. Instead, you need to treat them with respect and ensure that their dignity is maintained at all times. Involving them where possible is one way of doing this. Ignoring or neglecting what they have to say signals to them that they are no longer worthy of your time and this can also lead to sadness.

Non-verbal expressions of care: Our final recommendation that looks at the communication care needs for dementia patients refers to non-verbal communication. You or your carer can ensure your loved one feels comfortable and secure by engaging in fun activities together. These can range from baking and planting to other simple activities that don’t frustrate. You can also listen to music together, as this could trigger some memories and emotions. Don’t forget the importance of the physical touch. Hugging is a great way of expressing love towards your parent and is one of the best unspoken ways of showing them you care.

Contact a professional dementia care specialist today!

Dementia care at home can feel like a daunting process but you’re not in this alone. There are trained professionals who know the intricacies of communicating with dementia patients and practice these communication skills at every opportunity. Having a carer in your parent’s home is also likely to lead to more comfort and security of being surrounded by a familiar environment. And a trained caregiver will ensure that their needs are fully met.

Walfinch care services in your area:

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