Dementia is a progressive problem, which means it will typically get steadily worse over time. Most cases of dementia in the elderly cannot be reversed, but you can still help them live a comfortable life. This can be accomplished through high-quality senior care services or senior care communities, but in many cases the best way to combat the symptoms of dementia is through communication.
Dementia and Communication
The first thing to remember when dealing with dementia is that everyone will experience the problem differently, especially when it comes to communication skills. However, there are still some symptoms that are fairly common. An elderly person battling during the earliest stages of dementia might forget familiar names and places, frequently lose their train of thought, have difficulty organizing words into coherent sentences or revert to speaking a native language if they are bilingual. Since most cases of dementia are progressive, these problems will most likely get worse over time.
If you are speaking to someone with mild dementia, remember to be patient and supportive at all times. You may get frustrated when having a conversation with someone with dementia, but remember, that is nothing compared to the person with the actual problem. A person with dementia wants to express himself or herself coherently, and they might get discouraged when what they have to say makes little sense. Listening to them without interrupting will let them know that you are doing your best to understand them. If they get certain facts wrong, try to find out what they are trying to say instead of arguing or correcting them. Finally, remember that what they are feeling is sometimes more important than what they are saying. Listen to the tone of their voice and do your best to provide emotional support.
A person in the later stages of dementia may not be entirely aware of their surroundings or can be easily distracted. When you speak to someone like this, always approach them so they can see you and speak to them at eye level. Limit distractions around you, and make sure you can be seen or heard at all times. Use simple, concrete words when you speak to them; limit ambiguity as much as possible. This also means limiting yourself to questions that can be answered with a simple yes or no.
Seeking Out Senior Care Services
Caring for a loved one with dementia can be one of the most difficult things a person can do, and many find that they cannot handle things alone. If you are in this situation, there is no shame in seeking out some of the many senior care services in your area. If it’s not the right time for that, try to remain patient and remember that a person with dementia needs just as much love and understanding as anybody else.
Help your loved ones thrive by learning more about the memory care services from Concordia Lutheran Ministries. At Concordia, our specialized caregivers understand what it takes to keep your loved ones safe, putting their faith into everything they do to help those closest to you flourish in their everyday lives. Take a tour of one of Concordia’s Memory Care locations today and discover how we can help make a difference.