Communicating with people living with Dementia
We can often take communication for granted, but, this is one of the key areas of difficulty that develops in people living with dementia. In some cases they are not able to express their physical and emotional needs.
Speaking to Aimee Parr, one of our Wayfinders, there are some very easy steps to take to help your cared for or loved one living with dementia:
- Body language is very important – face them
- Be interested in what they are saying and be patient
- Respect their views, make them feel that they are heard
A few examples were mentioned. A lady living in a care home, asked the carer when her children will come and collect her. Instead of telling her that her kids are not coming, and she is in a Care Home, you might just go with the flow and tell her that her children will be coming later and that she is safe with people who love her just where she is.
Another example is one of our elderly gentlemen visiting Sage House believes he is coming to work, and he is the CEO of the company. Instead of telling him, that he is in the Daybreak programme for people living with Dementia, all staff just go with the flow and make him feel valued. Talking to the gentleman about his role may increase his confidence and allow him to feel comfortable and positive while he is in Daybreaks.
At times we can feel guilty for being dishonest, but for someone living with dementia the storyline or time they find themselves in, is their reality. Telling them, “you have told me that already” or “your Mum passed away a long time ago” can be extremely upsetting and stressful, and, can discourage them from talking altogether. The person with dementia may be wanting the feelings that person once gave them, like protection, safety or love. Asking more about the person they are talking about and what they were like will validate their feelings and hopefully bring back happier times for the person with dementia.
The bottom line is, go with the flow, and you might even find out some interesting facts about your person living with Dementia
Do you have any questions?
If you have any more questions, please contact Sage House, our hub for Dementia Support at firstname.lastname@example.org and a friendly Wayfinder can give you more advice and reassurance. If you are still unsure, pop in for a tea and cake at our Daisy’s Café, there are always informed staff around.