How to Communicate with a Person Suffering From Dementia

Did you know that one in every 79 people in the United Kingdom suffers from dementia? And while the suffering cannot be cured, it can certainly be lessened with proper care. Experts at Ashton Grange, a leading dementia nursing home in Sussex, emphasis the importance of the right way of communicating with people living with dementia. Here are some tips to help you when talking to someone with dementia. 

Tips on Communicating with Dementia Patients

  • Build a positive interactive channel – Actions indeed speak louder than words. Your body language and your attitude towards a patient communicate more than your words do. Do not look down at the patient as a feeble person to be pitied. Respect them and treat them like an equal, in a well-mannered and pleasant way. Use your facial expressions and gestures to convey your message and give your conversation a positive tone.

  • Pay attention – Be sure to pay undivided attention when they are speaking. Cut off all distractions, turn the TV and radio off, shut the door and move to a peaceful environment. When you begin talking to them, identify yourself and your relationship with them, address them by their name. If they tend to zone out, gently place your hand over theirs to bring them back to you. If they are seated, get down to their level and try to maintain eye contact when talking.

  • Keep your message clear – Dementia nursing homes in Horsham advise caregivers to speak to patients using simple words and small sentences. One should never raise their voice if the patient is unable to understand. Instead, repeat yourself, speaking slowly, enunciating each word and using gestures. If that doesn’t work either, try rephrasing your sentence. Also, rather than using pronouns, such as he, she, they, use nouns for things and places to give the patient context, as their condition makes them forget easily.

  • Asking question – Use your tone to communicate the fact that you are asking them something. Form short and simple questions. Break complicated questions down in parts and ask one at a time. Do not be impatient if they do not answer immediately, wait for a while and if they still haven’t spoken, ask again later. You can also use visual prompts to offer them multiple choices and help them choose the answer.

  • Handling their behavior – if the patient gets agitated or impatient, try distracting them or changing the subject to make them forget whatever they are annoyed with. Engage them in an activity, for instance, ask them to go for a walk with you or offer them something to eat.

Nursing homes in Crawley like Ashton Grange make their patients participate in many activities that keep their brain and body active. Physical activities also use up a lot of the patient’s energy, leaving them with calmer and less agitated.

It is important to make the person feel normal and maintain a sense of humor to lighten their mood and your own.