How To Communicate Effectively With A Person Living With Dementia

Helping Hands

Learning how to communicate with someone living with Dementia can be so helpful when trying to provide Dementia care for a loved one. Being able to communicate effectively not only helps to improve your own relationship with the individual, but can also relieve a significant amount of stress for both parties, particularly for those receiving Dementia care from a 24-hour home carer.
At Four Oaks Healthcare, we are experts in providing Dementia care for your loved ones, friends and relatives. Our carers undertake continuous training and development courses to keep up with the latest progressions in care.

Ensure all interaction is undertaken positively
For Dementia sufferers, it is so important to remember that your body language, attitude and actions speak louder than words. Concentrate on warm and friendly facial expressions as you speak so as to put them at ease, with a positive tone of voice. If you can see they are feeling more relaxed, try adding light physical touch to show affection and comfort.

Structure your message clearly
Try to make sure you use a clear and simple sentence structure, speaking slowly and distinctly. If they do not initially understand, try rephrasing your sentence slightly, using more simple language. When speaking, ensure you use proper names of places and people rather than abbreviations. Also try to remember that those receiving Dementia care may have little memory of people or places that have been part of their life most recently.

Ask simple and easy to answer questions
When seeking an answer, ensure that the person you are addressing understands your question clearly by usual visual prompts to guide their answer. Try to avoid open-ended questions that provide too much scope for an answer.

Ensure you have their full attention while addressing them
Those living with Dementia can become easily distracted by persons or objects around them, or even their own memories. Try to limit distractions so that they can concentrate on only your question. This may be achieved by closing the door or turning off the TV/radio. Before beginning your sentence, address them clearly using their name and ensure you also identify yourself. To make them feel more comfortable, try sitting down so that you are at their level.

Have patience
Waiting for an answer from someone living with Dementia can be a little stressful and frustrating, but remember that showing your frustration with them will only amplify the situation and cause them distress. If you see they are struggling to find the words, calmly suggest some options – what do you think it is they are trying to say? Listen with your eyes as well as your ears to understand what they mean.

Break activities down into bite-size steps
People receiving Dementia care usually struggle to undertake day to day activities independently. Watch what your loved one is doing so that you are ready with visual prompts, clues and hints to remind them of what they should be doing next. Reminding them before any accidents happen, can save a situation from becoming stressful or upsetting for them.