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Helping Seniors with Dementia Communicate Effectively

As dementia symptoms can increase over time, speaking and listening may become complex or frustrating for the elderly. For some seniors with this memory condition, even simple conversations are often very challenging. By following these strategies from the Redondo Beach senior care experts at Home Care Assistance, you can help ease some of the difficulty in communicating effectively with your senior loved one.

1. Keep it Simple
Keeping your speech simple is the first strategy to try any time you’re speaking to a senior with dementia. Speaking simply doesn’t mean that you should treat him or her like a child. Rather, this strategy means that you should break things down. Give your relative one concept or instruction at a time to make it easier for him or her to concentrate on what you’re saying.

2. Speak Slowly and Clearly
When talking with your loved one, speaking slowly and clearly can give him or her time to keep pace with and reason through what you’re saying. Speaking in measured tones and enunciating can also help for seniors who have diminished hearing. If your loved one has a Redondo Beach dementia caregiver, asking him or her to take a similar approach when talking with your loved one is also a good step.

3. Be Patient
Remember that your loved one wants to be able to speak with you as much as you wish to speak with him or her. Delayed responses are not because he or she is disinterested, but because memory loss, difficulty concentrating, and other cognitive challenges make it difficult to respond swiftly. As your loved one may become flustered if you are impatient, demonstrating that you can wait calmly for an answer may help your loved one relax and speak faster and more clearly. 

4. Distract and Redirect
When your loved one becomes upset, it can be harder than ever for him or her to share his or her thoughts. Instead of letting your loved one’s frustration get the best of you, take the opportunity to redirect his or her attention to something else. Going for a walk, watching television, or simply changing the subject can often give your loved one the time he or she needs to gather his or her thoughts and regroup emotionally.

If your elderly loved one experiences feelings of depression, isolation, and loneliness as a result of being unable to communicate effectively, an experienced dementia caregiver at Home Care Assistance can use other strategies to soothe some of your loved one’s discomfort. In addition, dementia and Alzheimer’s caregivers in Redondo Beach can provide safety monitoring, as well as in-home assistance for a variety of daily tasks, including cooking and cleaning, to help ensure that your loved one is both safe and comfortable in his or her home. If you have questions about our dementia or Alzheimer’s care services, give a knowledgeable Care Manager a call at (310) 504-0506 and schedule a free no-obligation consultation.