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Your Parent In Care: Communicating While In Dementia Care

While a visit to your mom or dad in dementia care can go in many different directions, there are ways you can communicate during the visit to help connect and continue creating wonderful moments.

Remember, your loved one may respond differently to visits than the way he or she used to. This is no reason to stop visiting. Reach out to professionals at the retirement community and contact the Alzheimer's Association for support and information to help you understand dementia.

Try these 9 tips to help you communicate and interact with mom or dad while visiting them in dementia care:

  • Avoid distractions. Try to find a place and time to talk when there aren’t a lot of distractions present. This allows your loved one to focus all their mental energy on the conversation.
  • Speak clearly and naturally in a warm and calm voice.
  • Refer to people by their names. Names are also important when greeting a loved one with dementia. For example: “Hi, Grandma.  It’s me, Julie,” is to be preferred over, “Hi. It’s me.”
  • Talk about one thing at a time. Someone with dementia may not be able to engage in the mental juggling involved when changing topics.
  • Use nonverbal cues. For example, maintain eye contact and smile. This helps put them at ease.
  • Listen actively. If you don’t understand something your loved one is telling you, politely let them know.
  • Don’t quibble. Your conversations are not likely to go very far if you try to correct every inaccurate statement your loved one makes. It’s okay to let delusions and misstatements go.
  • Have patience. Give them extra time to process what you say. If you ask a question, give a moment to respond.
  • Understand there will be good days and bad days. While the general trend of dementia is downward, people with dementia will have ups and downs just like anyone else.

At Resthaven, we have have an experienced team of caregivers who use a series of proven, stress-free assessments to help determine where each person is on their dementia journey. We identify their strengths and abilities and the areas where they need support. We use that information to develop a personal care plan that builds confidence, meets medical needs and helps each person find joy in the midst of living with dementia. To talk with of our consultants, please call us today at 616-796-3800.