Talking to someone with Alzheimer’s or dementia can be difficult, no matter how well you know them. You may feel like you’re talking to a stranger, and they may seem even further away than usual.
Dementia is a difficult thing to cope with, and it’s not always easy to talk about. But if you’re going to be talking about dementia with someone who has it, you need to do your best to make the conversation fun and informative.
But there are ways to help your loved one feel more connected to you and safer in this situation. Here are some tips:
- Be patient! It can sometimes take time for people with Alzheimer’s or dementia to understand what you need from them. Be sure to ask questions and wait for the right response before moving on—and don’t be afraid to stop and try again later if things aren’t going smoothly.
- Don’t be afraid to ask what they like and dislike! This will help them feel more involved in conversations and less isolated, which will help them stay engaged in daily activities.
- Try not to make assumptions about what your loved one needs based on their behavior. For example, if he/she is sitting still but isn’t saying much, it might be because he/she doesn’t understand the question being asked or has forgotten the information needed to answer it.
- Be patient and polite. Make sure you’re not talking over them or interrupting their train of thought.
- Be a good listener. If they seem confused by what you’re saying, ask them if they’d like you to repeat that information or go back and explain it in more depth.
- Don’t avoid the subject. If there’s something that’s bothering them, don’t change the subject—you can always bring it up later when they’re feeling better!
- Stop talking and listen to what the person with dementia is saying. Don’t interrupt them and don’t jump in with your own thoughts. This will help them feel heard and will also give you time to think about what they said so far before responding—which will help keep the conversation flowing smoothly without interrupting each other.
- Make eye contact. Make sure you’re looking at the person with dementia when you’re talking, rather than staring at their face or looking off into space (which can make them feel uncomfortable). Also, try using non-verbal cues like nodding your head or smiling if you think this might help them understand what you’re saying better than just speaking out loud would.
- Don’t expect the person to understand what you say—they may not remember it. It’s okay if they ask you questions or repeat themselves over and over again. Just try to keep in mind that it’s not about understanding, but about being there for them.
- Ask questions as much as possible—it helps them feel connected and makes it easier for them to understand what you’re saying. For example, if your loved one says “I love you” a lot, ask questions like: When did he last say “I love you?” What did he mean by that? What does he like about you? What do you like about him? This will help them connect with the conversation and make it easier for them to remember things later on down the line!
- Be upbeat, positive, and encouraging. Try to avoid negative language like “no,” “never,” or “nothing.” Instead, try using words that mean “yes” or “good,” such as “great!” or “amazing!”
- Focus on one topic at a time. Don’t get bogged down in too many details; instead, try to keep the conversation moving so that both people can hear each other clearly.
- If you don’t understand something, ask clarifying questions. For example: “Can you tell me more about how these medications work?” or “How did they help your memory?”
- Don’t force yourself into conversations. Let your loved one lead the way when it comes to communicating with others—if they want someone else to join in on the conversation, then let them do so!
- Keep things simple — don’t try to explain complicated concepts in simple terms or give them too many options for what to do next (this can cause confusion).
It’s so easy to forget how to talk to someone with Alzheimer’s or dementia. You want to help, but you don’t know how. The good news is that it’s never too late to learn how to talk to someone with Alzheimer’s or dementia. With the above tips, you can communicate with someone with Alzheimer’s successfully and make them feel that they matter. Choosing the best in-home care in Statesboro or in your area is ideal in ensuring that your loved one with Alzheimer’s is getting the best care possible. These tips can help others understand what it is like to live with dementia and make them feel less alone when dealing with these issues in their own lives.