Caring for dementia patients can be frustrating and difficult. Because dementia patients are suffering from a brain disorder, basic communication can be a challenge. With that said, we have partnered with Private Home Care in St. Louis to showcase some things that will help you to communicate with people that have dementia effectively. Communication is the key to excellent care.
Get The Patient’s Attention When You Enter The Room
It’s easy for patients with dementia to become disoriented. Even minor surprises can set them on edge. Because of this, it’s important to get the attention of a patient before you interact with them.
Even if the door to the room they are in is open, you should know before entering. You should also call out their name and make sure they see you. If you let them know you are going to be entering the room, they will be prepared to interact with you.
Set A Positive Mood
You should always be pleasant and friendly when you interact with a patient that has dementia. People with dementia often experience significant amounts of anxiety. If you can create a positive environment, you will be able to alleviate that anxiety.
When you greet a patient with dementia, you should greet them with a big smile. Be pleasant and cheerful whenever they ask you questions. If you’re friendly and happy, they will know that they can relax around you.
Keep Things Simple
People with dementia can’t always think quickly. You should use simple words when you are interacting with them. While you shouldn’t necessarily treat a dementia patient like a child, you should try to keep things simple. Work to avoid confusing them.
You don’t need to use medical terminology when talking to them. You should always make your explanations clear and easy to understand. If a dementia patient does not know what is going on, they are going to become anxious. This could cause behavioral issues. Try to keep things simple when you provide care. If the patient can follow what you are doing, they won’t have to worry.
Have Fun With The Patient
While dementia patients may lose some mental abilities, they still have a sense of humor. It’s okay to joke around with a dementia patient from time to time. If you can get them laughing, it will be that much easier for you to get them to relax.
Obviously, you shouldn’t make fun of a dementia patient; you don’t want them to be the butt of your jokes. However, a few simple, lighthearted comments should be enough to set them at ease. You may even be able to get them to make a joke of their own.
Don’t Just Listen With Your Ears
When you’re interacting with a dementia patient, you need to listen to them carefully. It isn’t always easy for people with dementia to express themselves. You need to pay close attention to what they tell you.
However, you shouldn’t just listen with your ears. You should also pay close attention to the way the patient is behaving. If you can see that the patient is anxious or upset, you need to try to address that.
Try to remain focused on the patient you’re caring for at all times. If you pay attention to them, you’ll be able to see what they need. Being receptive to a patient’s needs is an essential part of being a caregiver.
Break Things Down Into Steps
It can be hard for dementia patients to process a lot of information at once. That’s why it’s smart for you to break things down. Instead of overloading them with information, you should present them with one thing at a time.
If you are planning on getting a patient ready for a doctor’s appointment, try breaking down each step of the process. Tell them you are going to brush their teeth, brush their hair, get them dressed, and take them outside. If you handle things one step at a time, the patient will understand what is happening in the moment.
Reassure Your Patient
Whenever you see your patient looking nervous or confused, you should reassure them. A little bit of encouragement can go a long way. Make sure your patient knows that everything is going well.
If you regularly praise or reassure a dementia patient, they will know that they are doing what they are supposed to do. If they are getting praised, they won’t want to panic. It will be easy for them to remain calm as you provide care.
There are a lot of challenges associated with caring for dementia patients. With that said, proper communication will make it easier for you to provide essential care. As long as you’re ready for the challenges associated with caregiving for dementia patients, you should be able to provide high standards of care.