If your loved one has been diagnosed with dementia, communication may become more challenging. However, regular visits can still be highly beneficial for your loved one, especially when approached mindfully. Here are a few ways you can help your loved one feel happy, confident, and comfortable while you’re visiting.
It’s important to accept your changing relationship with your loved one. Although they are still the same person you know and love, the way they interact, communicate, and process information may have shifted due to their condition.
When visiting, it may be helpful to begin by introducing yourself. If your loved one doesn’t immediately remember you, an introduction will help them feel more comfortable. It’s also common for those living with dementia to have a differing view of reality. Instead of correcting or arguing with your loved one, be flexible. Meet them in their reality and continue the conversation.
Preparation is key when visiting a loved one with dementia. Aim to visit at a convenient time for them and limit the number of visitors to below 3. Big, loud groups of people can cause your loved one to feel overwhelmed or confused. Also, try to arrive at a consistent time each visit. This may help your loved one anticipate your company.
Come armed with some objects that might remind your loved one of happy times. Photo albums, CDs, records, or other sentimental items can help with recollection and reminiscence.
Mindful communication and relaxed body language may help your loved one feel more at ease. Speak slowly and clearly, and avoid sentences that involve multiple topics. If your loved one asks the same question multiple times, or tells the same story more than once, remain calm. Don’t correct your loved one, and be aware of your tone and demeanour. Never show frustration—they are simply communicating in a way that comes naturally to them.
For more tips on supporting a loved one living with dementia, click here.
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