November 24, 2017
By Anna

With Americans living longer, and the generation of baby boomers reaching ages 65 and above, the sheer number of people with old age conditions—including Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia—are expected to dramatically rise in the coming years. Dementia is a mentally, emotionally, and physically debilitating syndrome, which doesn’t just take a toll on the patient, but deeply affects everyone involved. Witnessing an elderly loved one with dementia can be a painful experience. As the disease progresses, their memory loss symptoms become more noticeable, causing them extreme emotional stress. Eventually, the impairment causes loss of self, and they might not even recognize friends and family. At times, communication with your dementia suffering senior loved one can be tricky, but not impossible. Here are some tips on how you can effectively communicate with your elderly loved one with dementia. Acknowledge the Challenge: People with dementia are often anxious and unaware of what day, date, or time it is, or even where they are. You may increase their anxiety if you approach them too quickly. So, walk slowly giving them enough time to sense your presence. Also, do not lean over them so they don’t feel threatened. Sit, crouch, or kneel so that you are not looking down at them. Do Not Talk About Multiple Things at Once: Your loved one may find it difficult to engage in conversations with multiple topics. So, talk about one thing at a time to keep them involved in the conversation. Speak Slowly: Keep the pace of your conversation slow. Pause between the sentences giving them time to absorb whatever you say and process its meaning. Incorporate Reassuring Non-Verbal Cues: Gestures and cues like a tender touch, reassuring eye contact, or a sweet smile goes a long way in helping your loved one feel relaxed and communicate clearly. Do Not Correct Them: If you notice any wrong facts or misstatements, do not correct them. Let them finish what they want to say. If they are struggling to find the right word, give suggestions, but let them correct you if your guess is not what they had in mind. And stop if your help seems to be upsetting them. Your loved one with dementia may no longer remember every detail of their lives. Some days, they may not even remember you. But they are still people, and they still feel. As their communication ability diminishes, worry less about what they say and focus more on the feelings their words are trying to express. For professional dementia care , you can reach out to us at 720-469-9910 or 720-982-8250.

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