Communicating With A Dementia Loved One
Having a loved one with dementia is a challenge! One of the biggest challenges we see is the family members struggling to communicate with their loved one.
There are different levels of dementia and different ways people react to the disease. Some can become really agitated and confused but still be very opinionated and bold. Others can become really sweet and pleasant to be around but still have a hard time remembering things.
We work really hard at Fairbrook Grove Assisted Living Home in Mesa AZ to make sure that we keep our dementia residents as balanced as possible. We work with the family and doctors to get them the correct medication, sleep and diet. But even if they are properly medicated, sometimes the wrong kind of communication can really set them off in a negative direction.
Many times it’s challenging for a family member to ‘play along’ with the mindset of a loved one. The dementia residents may believe their spouse is still alive, they saw their sister at church yesterday or many other circumstances that may not be true. Sometimes it is good to correct a way of thinking and other times it is better to just go along with their thought and not fight it.
At Fairbrook Grove Assisted Living Home in Mesa AZ, our caregivers are trained to communicate with our dementia residents in ways to encourage peace and to not become agitated. This may include agreeing with a ‘story’ that someone has created or pacifying the need by returning the communication with something that will help them have peace in the moment.
An example of this could be telling them that their husband is away shopping, or that it’s wonderful they saw their sister at church, etc. You then could ask more questions about the person they are thinking of and try to redirect their thoughts to help them start thinking about something else.
Redirecting a person with dementia is not always easy but it is better to go with the flow of their thoughts instead of fighting them. Dementia is a really hard disease for everyone to deal with and especially hard for the family of their loved one struggling with it.
If you have a loved one who is struggling with dementia, we feel for you, and hope you can have peace in communicating with them and caring for them.
The Fairbrook Grove Management Team