When your elderly loved one has dementia, you need to make sure that you meet their needs. This condition poses many challenges and being a progressive biological brain disorder, many elderly patients with Alzheimer’s find it more and more difficult to remember things. Their cognitive state is affected that they also have trouble communicating with others and taking care of themselves. Seniors with dementia are most likely to develop mood swings. Changes in their behavior and personality are also evident.
To adequately care for an elderly loved one with dementia, it is vital to understand dementia behaviors. Most people find it difficult to communicate with a senior with dementia due to the patient’s cognitive decline. If you are a caregiver, you need to have excellent communication skills so you can handle difficult behavior associated with dementia.
- Be positive
For people with dementia, there can be good and bad days. Some days, you will find it easy to talk to them, while there are days when you feel like walking on eggshells. As a caregiver, you need to set a positive mood when dealing with your loved one. You should speak to them in a respectful and pleasant manner. Be mindful of your tone of voice, facial expressions, and body language.
They might not remember things, but they can feel it when you are irritated or not happy about caring for them. You have to show the feelings of affection. Make them feel your presence. Being affectionate will minimize their feelings of loneliness.
- Capture the person’s attention
Constant communication is also important for a person with dementia. Dealing with aging can already be challenging, let alone living a life with dementia. It is not enjoyable to wake up one day not remembering anything, not even your name. In caring for your loved one, you have to limit noise and distractions. Turn off the TV or radio, shut the door or close the curtains. As much as possible, you should also move into much quieter surroundings.
Capture their attention before speaking to them. You should also address them by their name. Be patient as the flow of conversation may not always be consistent. Start by identifying yourself and your relationship with them. You can also use nonverbal cues. Touch them every once in a while to keep them focused. If they are seated, get down to their level so you can also maintain eye contact.
- Speak slowly
Although people with dementia have reduced comprehension skills, it does not mean that you have to yell at them for them to understand what you are saying. You have to speak in a reassuring tone and avoid raising your voice. It is normal for them not to understand what you are staying for the first time. You have to repeat your message by using the same wording. If in case, they still do not understand, try to wait a few minutes before rephrasing the question. Replace pronouns with names of people or places.
- Be patient
When talking to your loved one, you cannot expect to receive an immediate response from them so be patient. If they are struggling for an answer, you can also suggest words. Be careful of your body language and nonverbal cues. Respond appropriately and listen with your eyes, ears, and heart. Even if they are not going to say a word, observing their behavior and body language will help you understand what they want.
- Respond with reassurance
It is not easy for people with dementia to live a normal life. They often feel anxious, unsure and confused. Sometimes, they have trouble differentiating reality from fiction. They imagine things and think of them as part of their real-life experiences. Even when they are in a state of confusion, you do not have to insist that they are wrong. Focus on the feelings they are trying to demonstrate.
You can respond with expressions of support, reassurance, and comfort. You can touch, hug or hold their hands so you can get them to respond.
Keep in mind that you cannot change your loved one’s behavior once they have dementia. Handling their troubling behavior is the best thing you can do. Rather than controlling their behavior, you should try accommodating their behavior. A change in your loved one’s behavior starts with changing your behavior. Hire in home care giver San Antonio to assist you with taking care of your loved one.