Dementia is an illness that will gradually affect a person’s ability to remember and comprehend basic everyday knowledge. Due to this, the person with dementia will begin to communicate differently, as they may not possess the verbal skills that they did in the past. The ability to present rational ideas and to reason clearly may become more distorted as time goes on and the person with dementia may become irritated during this change.
Given this, you may find that the number of conversations started by the person with dementia will begin to decrease. This is a common occurrence at this stage and it may be the case that you will have to start discussions in order to get the person to make conversation. You may need some time to adjust to these conversations due to the responses gradually becoming slower and less coherent.
It is important to be aware of these changes, despite it sometimes causing distress in the person with dementia or in the carer themselves. By learning about this change, you are able to prepare for the challenges that may be faced in future and put practices in place that will make the transition easier. This way, the person with dementia will be treated with support and knowledge when the communication starts to change, rather than confusion and worry in the absence of sufficient information.
There are various common obstacles that a person with dementia can face when communicating with others. These can include not understanding or losing the thread of a conversation, limited response, speaking fluently but their sentences not making any sense, struggling to find the right word and repeating themselves. These setbacks can often be frustrating and cause confusion in the person with dementia. It can be helpful to put certain practices in place that will be able to facilitate their communication.
Although each case of dementia varies, there are techniques that can be used in order to help the individual communicate more comfortably. It can be useful to try each of the following processes and remember which ones are most effective:
Non-verbal cues can be a helpful way of facilitating conversation with somebody who has dementia. Although the person may struggle to articulate or understand a certain phrase, gentle physical contact can communicate a feeling of support and stimulate confidence within them. Below are some helpful tips regarding non-verbal communication:
By successful putting these tips into place, the person with dementia will feel engaged and they will begin to enjoy their conversations more. The person’s confidence will be boosted and they will feel encouraged to continue to communicate. If these tips are not used effectively, however, the person with dementia may feel that they are unable to fully express themselves. This can cause a loss in confidence and the person becoming anxious about their communication, which in turn can lead to the person becoming withdrawn and reluctant to communicate.
For more information on communicating with somebody with dementia, please click here.
For more tips on communicating with somebody with dementia, please click here.
For more information on preparing to communicate with somebody with dementia, please click here.