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Tips on How to Approach Someone Living with Dementia

Dementia is a condition that affects millions of seniors worldwide. It can be a challenging disease for both the person living with it and their loved ones. Communication can become difficult as the disease progresses, and it can be hard to know what to say or how to act around someone with dementia. In this blog, we will provide you with some tips on how to approach someone living with dementia.

  1. Be patient. One of the most important things to remember when approaching someone living with dementia is to be patient. People with dementia may have trouble understanding or processing information, so it’s essential to speak slowly and clearly, giving them enough time to understand and respond. Don’t rush them, and try to be understanding if they need to repeat themselves or ask you to repeat something.
  2. Use simple language. People living with dementia may have difficulty understanding complex sentences or concepts. It’s essential to use simple language, speak slowly, and break down your sentences into smaller parts. For example, instead of saying “Can you please come to the dining room for dinner?” say “Dinner is ready. Let’s go to the dining room.”
  3. Avoid distractions. People with dementia can become easily distracted, so it’s essential to create a calm and quiet environment when communicating with them. Turn off the TV or radio and limit background noise as much as possible. It can also be helpful to eliminate any visual distractions by sitting in a quiet room with minimal decorations or clutter.
  4. Use non-verbal cues. As dementia progresses, verbal communication can become increasingly difficult. Non-verbal cues such as facial expressions, body language, and touch can help convey your message. For example, holding someone’s hand while speaking to them can provide reassurance and comfort.
  5. Be respectful. People with dementia may have difficulty with their memory, but they still deserve respect and dignity. Always address them by their name and avoid using baby talk or speaking to them as if they are children. Speak to them as you would speak to any other adult.
  6. Focus on positive memories. As dementia progresses, people may have difficulty remembering recent events, but they often retain their long-term memories. Focusing on positive memories, such as discussing old family photos or memories from their childhood, can help to stimulate their memory and provide a sense of comfort.
  7. Seek professional help. Caring for a loved one with dementia can be challenging and overwhelming, and it’s important to seek professional help when needed. The Alzheimer’s Association is an important resource for many families.  Oasis Senior Advisors can help families find the best care for their loved ones with dementia. They can provide guidance on senior living options, help families navigate the healthcare system, and connect you with resources throughout the caregiving journey.

Approaching someone living with dementia can be challenging, but there are ways to make communication easier. By being patient, using simple language, avoiding distractions, using non-verbal cues, being respectful, focusing on positive memories, and seeking professional help, you can make a significant difference in the life of your loved one. Families can contact Oasis Senior Advisors at 475.619.4123 or 914.356.1901 for help with their senior loved ones with dementia.

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Paul and Susan Doyle

Certified Senior Advisor®

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