For an elderly family member with dementia, communication can gradually become more of a difficulty. How you and your senior work around these difficulties matters a great deal because frustration can make the problem worse for both of you. Patience and a willingness to try some new things can pay off significantly.
Talking Louder Doesn’t Help
Lots of people fall into the trap of trying to talk louder to someone who doesn't understand what they're saying. But talking louder usually just distorts what's being said so that it's even more difficult for your senior to understand what's being said. If you're feeling frustrated, take a deep breath and try another tactic.
Try Rephrasing with Different Words
One of the techniques you might want to try is rephrasing what you're trying to say. If you've got anything in the sentence that isn't necessary to the meaning of what you're saying, consider just leaving it out. Simplifying language and eliminating excess choices can make a huge difference, too. For instance, a great deal of descriptive language or multiple adjectives can get overwhelming.
Write it Out
Sometimes people with dementia have a difficult time speaking or listening, but have a much better time writing a response. Keep a notebook and pen handy so that you can try writing the next time that you're having trouble communicating with each other. Having a chance to write her response can give your elderly family member a chance to use a different part of her brain.
Know When to Back Up
At some point, you may simply have to back away from attempting a conversation. When you've tried several different techniques, you may exhaust your senior as well as yourself. Continuing when you're both tense is going to make the situation more difficult. Unless the situation is an emergency, you can come back to it later.
Watch How Others Interact with Her
Something else that can help considerably is to watch how other people, such as senior care providers, interact with your senior. If they've got experience helping people with dementia to communicate, they can show you tips and tricks that can make a big difference for you both.
Communicating with an aging adult who has dementia is definitely different than it was in the past, but that doesn't mean that you have to give up completely. Changing just one or two small aspects of how you're attempting to talk with her can make a big difference.
If you or an aging loved one is considering senior care in Apache Junction, AZ, please contact the caring staff at SYNERGY HomeCare today: 480-377-6770.