Because people living with dementia often experience communication problems and mood swings, fairly harmless comments from others can cause major breakdowns or arguments. Knowing how to better communicate with people with dementia can help family caregivers have more positive interactions. Here are a few things you should never say to a parent who has dementia.
1. “That’s Not Right”
Constantly correcting a senior with dementia isn’t very useful. It just frustrates the senior and doesn’t make any permanent positive changes in his or her memory. Instead, try to focus on just spending time with your parent instead of making sure every memory he or she mentions is completely accurate.
Caring for a senior loved one can be challenging for families who don’t have expertise or professional training in home care, but this challenge doesn’t have to be faced alone. Family caregivers can turn to Pembroke Pines Home Care Assistance for the help they need. We provide high-quality live-in and respite care as well as comprehensive Alzheimer’s, dementia, stroke, and Parkinson’s care.
2. “I Already Told You That”
It’s understandable for caregivers to get annoyed by having to repeatedly answer the same question, but snapping at your loved one is never the answer. All this does is remind your loved one of his or her fading memory and tell him or her that he or she is being a burden to you. Try to be patient and just calmly repeat the information instead.
3. “Sit Down and Eat This Now”
Demanding instructions like “Get dressed” or “Go walk in the garden” can greatly upset seniors because they resent being treated like children. Try to make sure your loved one still has a sense of independence by offering choices instead. Saying something like “Would you rather wear pants or a skirt today?” can help your loved one retain a sense of independence and control.
4. “Do You Remember …?”
It’s perfectly fine to prompt your loved one’s memory if you want to, but avoid phrasing it like you’re asking him or her to remember something. This approach puts your loved one on the spot and could upset him or her when he or she realizes the answer is “no.” Instead, try to start by saying “I remember when …” to encourage your loved one to remember things without embarrassing him or her.
A professional caregiver can provide regular cognitive stimulation that may slow the progress of your loved one’s dementia. Families looking for top-rated at-home care providers can reach out to Home Care Assistance. From respite care to specialized Alzheimer’s, dementia, stroke, and Parkinson’s care, there are many ways we can make life easier for seniors and their loved ones.
5. “Go Find Your Shoes, Put Them On, and Walk to the Car …”
Long strings of directions and comments are never going to work well. When seniors have dementia, they often have difficulty processing multistep commands and a lot of information. It’s better to divide what you want to say into a few concise sentences. When possible, wait to deliver the next instruction until your loved one has finished the first one.
6. “She’s Doing So Well Today!”
Try to remember your parent is an adult with years of experience. Talking over your loved one’s head like he or she isn’t even in the room could cause him or her to lash out in frustration. Instead, try to include your parent in the conversation, and remember he or she may understand you even if he or she cannot respond. If you need to talk about your loved one with others, it may be best to step out of the room first.
Even when families have the best intentions, caring for a senior loved one with dementia can be challenging. Fortunately, Home Care Assistance is here to help. We are a leading provider of dementia care. Pembroke Pines families can take advantage of our flexible and customizable care plans, and our caregivers always stay up to date on the latest developments in senior care. To schedule a free in-home consultation, give us a call at (954) 374-8273 today.