Language and communication problems will vary and become more challenging overtime for somebody living with dementia. A poor choice of language can leave the person with the condition frustrated as he/she finds it hard to recall a specific word. Therefore, it is important to be aware and know how to communicate considerately with a person who has dementia. Here are a couple of dementia care approaches one should try to avoid in conversations:
Avoid questions/phrases such as: “Remember when…?” or “I’ve just told you that.”
These phrases can potentially frustrate and stress out a person living with dementia because this kind of question/phrase is a constant reminder of his/her condition. When mentioning the past, try leading the conversation with something like “I remember when…” in hopes that the person will join in on the conversation within time. Additionally, try to be patient because saying the phrase, “I’ve just told you that” does nothing but frustrates the person living with dementia. Repetition is common and will often happen.
Avoid open ended-questions such as: “What did you do this weekend?”
This question could be stressful for a person with dementia because it might be difficult for them to remember the answer. Although giving them the option to make personal choices is important, providing specific choices for them to choose will definitely be helpful.
Avoid long, complex sentences.
It is challenging for someone with dementia to process more than one idea at once, so it is better to provide instructions or directions step by step.
Avoid endearments such as: “love”, “honey”, or “dear”
Endearments can be very patronising to somebody living with dementia. Using their name often helps aid their concentration and makes them feel more like themselves.
People with the condition may have a difficult time finding the right word, repeating their words and phrases. They are likely to have other sensory impairments, which can also make it harder to communicate. Feeling anxious, depressed or withdrawn are all effects that take place when someone is unable to properly express themselves. We must support our loved ones and educate ourselves about the appropriate use of language when it comes to dementia care.
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