In this edition, we will share tips and ideas about how to communicate with people living with dementia. When we think about communicating, speech is our first instinct, but there are times when communication involves much more than just a verbal conversation. When communicating with someone with dementia, there are many things to consider, and remember that talking isn’t always the most effective method.
Here are some ideas that can help with communication:
● Acknowledge what the person has said to you, even if they don't answer your question. Let them know that you've heard them and try to encourage them to say more about their answer.
● Use facial expressions, gestures and movement. Physical signs and body language can all convey meaning and help get messages across, especially when speaking becomes more difficult.
● Use Humour. Laughing can help to bring you closer together, and may relieve the pressure.
● Listen to what they have to say. 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.
● Encourage the person to 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.
● Using visual clues like writing your messages down or using objects or pictures to help the person understand can help alleviate a breakdown in communication.
Difficulties with communication can be frustrating and upsetting for people with dementia as well as their carers and loved ones. Active listening, non-verbal communication, visual props and laughter are just a few ways to help relieve some of the tensions you may experience when engaging with those living with dementia.
If you feel that you need more assistance with supporting a family member in the home, please give Home Instead Wrexham and Deeside a call on 01978 660423 we offer a no obligation free consultation for you and your family.