After a senior loved one has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or dementia, one of the first concerns that you may have is how to effectively communicate with them. After all, they are a very important person in your life and you want to be there for them every step of this journey. However, certain dementia symptoms can make it difficult to communicate and connect in the same ways they used to before. If this is something that you are facing, our Bayshire Carlsbad memory care services have some advice that could help.
Tip #1: Stay positive.
The tone of your voice can convey a wide range of emotions, including anger, sadness, and joy. When speaking to your senior loved one, try to stay as positive as possible, even in the face of frustrating situations. Your time together is very precious. Don’t waste it getting hung up on little things and instead, focus on having fun and creating new memories.
Tip #2: Talk in a calm, quiet place.
If there are too many distractions around, such as a noisy TV or a large group of people, it can be difficult to focus. This is especially true for seniors with dementia. Focus on creating a warm, quiet space where you can talk one on one with your loved one. Doing so will make them more comfortable, less anxious, and put their mind at ease. If they use our memory care services, there are plenty of locations across our community where you can enjoy a nice, calming chat.
Tip #3: Identify yourself when needed.
Remember that the nature of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease is to cause cognitive decline. This can happen in the form of memory loss. Unfortunately, there may be times that your loved one doesn’t recognize you. When this happens, introduce yourself by saying your name and what your relationship is to the senior. If they still aren’t sure, don’t push the issue. This can lead to agitation or anxiety, which are two negative emotions you want to avoid.
Tip #4: Be mindful of your language.
When sitting down to have a conversation with your senior loved one with dementia, be mindful of your language. Using complicated lingo, run-on sentences, or large words can make a pleasant conversation a confusing one. Instead, speak one sentence at a time or stick to one topic before clearly changing to the next. Slowing down a conversation like this can be easier for your senior to digest and understand and will also minimize the amount of times you have to repeat yourself.
Tip #5: Be direct in your conversation.
Another great tip is to be direct with your language. Clearly state the name or location of who or what you are talking about as opposed to saying ‘she’ or ‘it’. This will help paint a clear picture of the conversation and allow for your senior loved one to have a better understanding of the information presented. If they have questions, remember to be patient and try reframing your sentences.
Tip #6: Don’t make assumptions.
While it might be easy to assume that your senior doesn’t want to participate or be involved in family gatherings or activities, don’t be so quick to write them off. Instead, always extend the offer to them. By leaving them out, you are sending a clear message that you don’t think that they are capable of handling themselves. This could lead to very hurt feelings and impact your relationship. Give them that choice. If they decline, don’t push the issue. If they accept, do everything you can to make sure that they’re comfortable and safe.
Tip #7: Be aware of your body language
Having a conversation with someone isn’t just about talking, as your body language plays an important role, too! When sitting down and talking with your senior, remember to maintain eye contact. Don’t be on your phone or involved in some other distracting activity. Instead, keep the focus on them, remember to smile and nod, and keep an open, welcoming demeanor. Your senior loved one will notice these things and feel all the more heard and appreciated because of it.
Tip #8: Avoid open-ended questions.
For seniors with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, too many open-ended questions can leave them feeling disoriented, confused, or overwhelmed. One way that you can minimize these kinds of questions is to be more direct. For example, instead of asking them ‘what would you like for breakfast today?’ try to give them two options. Instead, ask ‘would you like eggs or toast for breakfast today?’. This will also help them avoid reaching the point of decision fatigue.
Tip #9: Give yourself a breather.
Loving someone with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease can be extremely challenging and sometimes, even heartbreaking. As much as you want to stay positive and remember all of these tips, you are only human yourself. Feeling burnout, anxious, or stressed is all a natural part of the process and isn’t something you need to feel ashamed of. Ground yourself prior to going into the chat and if at any time you need to step away and take a breather, be sure to do so. You need to take care of yourself, too!
Bayshire Carlsbad Memory Care Services
Following the diagnosis of a senior loved one’s dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, it’s important to know that you are not alone. There are many professional resources that can assist you, including our Bayshire Carlsbad memory care services. Here, our program is rooted in a person-centered approach that focuses on helping seniors to maintain their identity and sense of self, even in the face of dementia. Between our kind, caring staff, our excellent amenities, and our safe and secure community, our residents are in the best hands.
To learn more about what memory care services we offer or to set up a time to take a tour, contact us today! We would be happy to answer any questions you may have and show you just what kind of different Bayshire Carlsbad can make for your loved one.