September is World Alzheimer's Month and every year, the aim of the campaign is to raise awareness and challenge the stigma that surrounds dementia. Here are some tips and ideas about how to communicate with people living with dementia.
Try to always acknowledge what the person has said. Even if they don't answer your question, express that you've heard them and encourage them to say more about their answer.
Use gestures, movement and facial expressions. Sometimes words are not enough, physical signs and body language can all convey meaning and help get messages across, especially when speaking becomes more difficult.
Laugh together. Use humour, laughing can help to bring you closer together and may relieve the pressure.
Try and be an active listener. Listening is a very important aspect of engaging with someone with dementia. Look for non-verbal cues such as facial expressions and body language to try and understand what they are trying to tell you.
Let the person express their feelings. If the person is feeling sad, don’t try and persuade them away from that feeling. Showing you care by just listening is sometimes the best method of communicating.
Physical contact can provide reassurance. Holding or patting the person's hand or putting your arm around them might be all that is needed to let them know you are there for them.
Use visual clues. Writing your messages down or using objects or pictures to help the person understand could help alleviate a breakdown in communication. Post it notes, notice boards can help.
Communication difficulties can be frustrating and upsetting for people with dementia as well as their carers and loved ones, hopefully you will find some of these ideas useful.
All our CAREGIvers have training so that they are able to offer the very best care to our clients living with dementia, we have a City and Guilds accredited training course which is offered to all our staff we are also training some staff using a ‘virtual dementia tour’ which gives the individual a taste of what it might be like to be a person living with dementia.
Please feel free to contact me if you think I can be of any assistance, Victoria 01992 666777.