We find that how a person interacts and understands someone who has Dementia is so important. Recognizing different ways you can connect and communicate may help the relationship. Learn more from these suggestions on different ways and opportunities to interact.
- Respect. We all want respect and those with Alzheimer’s or Dementia are no different. They want and deserve respect so be thoughtful of how you speak and try to avoid phrases that could be patronizing, demeaning and/or condescending.
- Speak clear and calm. Remember to refer to people by their names and refrain from using “he”, “she” or “they” as that can be hard.
- It is okay to use touch. A reassuring hug or hand on someone’s shoulder can show affection without using words. Often some of our seniors with Dementia miss the physical attention and can really benefit from feeling “loved”.
- Keep the conversation simple and try to talk about one thing at a time. If the conversation has multiple subjects, it can be confusing. Also, try to ask more simple questions that have the opportunity for one or two answers. This can make the conversation feel less frustrating.
- Listen. Be sure to spend time listening and not always being the one to talk. If you do not understand something, it is okay to ask them to repeat it or say, “I am sorry, I do not understand”.
- Try talking about something they are interested in or about their past. Someone with Dementia may be able to remember his or her childhood but have a hard time remembering something that happened earlier that day.
- Patience is so important. Give them some time to explain and talk. Try not to interrupt and if you ask a question, just pause and give them time to respond.