How to Communicate Effectively with a Parent Who Has Dementia

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How to Talk Properly to Seniors with Dementia in Newcastle, NSW

When a person develops dementia, the communication areas of the brain are among the first regions to be affected. In the later stages of dementia, older adults may no longer be able to form full sentences or understand simple instructions, which makes effective communication difficult. To ensure better communication between you and your loved one, consider the following tips.

Choose Simple Words and Short Sentences

As dementia progresses, the ability to comprehend language diminishes. Using long, complicated sentences filled with big words may make it difficult for your loved one to figure out what you are trying to say. Take the time to think about your phrasing and choose simple, concise sentences. To prevent confusion, it’s best to name things instead of referring to them as “it” or “those.”

If your senior loved one needs help managing an illness or assistance with daily tasks, make sure you choose a top-rated provider of elderly care. Newcastle 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.

Remove External Distractions

Seniors with dementia are easily distracted, so they may have difficulty focusing on words in an unfamiliar room filled with other people, blaring televisions, games, or toys. When you need to communicate with your loved one, go to a quiet environment he or she recognises. Try to have one-on-one conversations instead of including several people.

Show Emotions Clearly

In many cases, seniors with dementia respond to the tone of voice and facial expressions. Focus on what you sound and look like instead of trying to choose the perfect words. When addressing your loved one, a gentle tone and a heartfelt hug might convey “I love you” better than simply talking about how much you love him or her. 

Providing care for seniors with serious medical conditions can take a toll a carer’s health. Family carers need to care for their own wellbeing. If you are caring for an ageing loved one and are feeling overwhelmed, consider hiring a professional care worker to provide respite care. Newcastle families who want to avoid burnout can turn to Home Care Assistance. One of our professional care workers can assist your loved one at home while you take a nap, go to work, run errands, or go on vacation.

Let Your Loved One Talk with Gestures

Many seniors know what they are trying to say, but they cannot come up with the right word. It may be more effective to get your loved one to point at items, nod or shake his or her head, or wave instead of trying to use spoken words. Some carers find it helpful to get a set of flashcards that contain pictures and words for common actions and items so seniors can display the cards to show what they want.

Be Patient

It can take some time for a senior with dementia to process what is being said and formulate a response. However, hurrying your loved one along, criticising the response time, or trying to finish a sentence for him or her could lead to confusion and frustration. Try to be patient and give your loved one plenty of time to respond to each statement you make. If your loved one does not understand you, try to gently rephrase the question or statement instead of getting frustrated.

Caring for a senior loved one can be challenging for families who don’t have expertise or professional training in home care, but this challenge doesn’t have to be faced alone. Family carers can turn to Newcastle Home Care Assistance for the help they need. We provide high-quality live-in and respite care as well as comprehensive Alzheimer’s, dementia, stroke, and Parkinson’s care. If you need high-quality in-home care services for your ageing parent, give us a call at (02) 4089 3000 today.

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