When a parent, family member, or loved one develops dementia, it’s often necessary to change the way you communicate with them. Not only will this facilitate understanding, but it can also reduce the stress and anxiety that is so common in people living with dementia.
Tips for Talking to People Living with Dementia
Dementia is a form of cognitive decline that is out of a person’s control. As such, talking to people living with dementia takes the same type of consideration that you would offer to somebody with any other speech difficulty.
The most important tip for speaking with people living with dementia is to remember that their cognitive challenges are just as frustrating for them (or much more so) as they are for you.
Following a few simple strategies can facilitate conversation:
Speak in short, clear sentences at a reasonable volume, and enunciate your words to ensure that they aren’t misheard.
When asking a question, present uncomplicated options. You may need to word your question in different ways.
Be mindful of your tone of voice. Try to be patient and gentle, as letting frustration or anger seep into your tone can make your conversation partner less willing to engage.
Give room for them to respond. Sometimes, people living with dementia need extra time to articulate their thoughts. Be comfortable with silence, and don’t pressure them to respond right away.
Following these basic guidelines can help to minimize frustration and let people living with dementia have a voice. You can also consider helping your loved one transition to a community designed with their needs in mind. Moving to memory care in St. Petersburg, Florida, is often the best way to improve the quality of life for people living with dementia.
Habits to Avoid
Just as there are tips for facilitating conversation, there are also practices that should be avoided. A few examples include:
- Avoid constantly correcting them — mixing up words or facts is out of their control
- Avoid patronizing them by using baby-talk — treat them as an equal
- Don’t test their memory — they likely recognize that they should remember details and can get frustrated when they don’t
By avoiding these lines of conversation, you can minimize both their frustration and your own.
Assisted Living in Saint Petersburg, Florida
Moving to assisted living in Saint Petersburg, Florida, can be a great way to ensure your loved one gets the support they need. Communities are staffed by compassionate professionals who have the knowledge and tools to help people living with dementia communicate their needs, accomplish their daily routines, and continue to live fulfilling lives.