The progression of dementia varies with each person, but often communication becomes difficult and you may be seeking ways to communicate. Communication struggles may include repeating stories, losing track of what they were trying to relay, not communicating as much out of frustration or confusion, and not being able to find the words to communicate. And, your loved one may not understand what you are trying to communicate to them.
Here are a few strategies to help you communicate:
- Make eye contact.
- Acknowledge verbal and nonverbal feelings and responses.
- Communicate simply and directly, limiting options and questions that could increase frustration.
- Don’t argue.
- Call your loved one by name and introduce yourself with your name to make it easier if you know they may not know. And, don’t use pronouns (he, she, we, them); use specific names to help your loved one process who you are speaking about during your conversations.
- Avoid distractions such as a television or radio on in the room.
- Be patient. It may take your loved one a few minutes to process and answer your question. And, you may not understand what they are trying to communicate to you. This can lead to both of you being frustrated. Be patient and empathetic. Let them know it is okay.
- Don’t talk as if your loved one is not in the room. Speak as if your loved one understands everything you are saying.
- Keep trying. There will be good days and bad days but continue to be patient and empathetic.