When someone has dementia, their ability to reason and present rational ideas starts to change. “When they’re less able to communicate, they may get frustrated and their behavior can become challenging or difficult to understand,” says Felicia Baccam, of Visiting Angels home care. “One day you go from being someone’s spouse or child to being their caregiver.”
She offers these tips to better connect with your loved one:
- Be patient and listen.
- Learn to interpret from context.
- Be connected with eye contact and touch.
- Use nonverbal and visual cues.
- Offer comfort.
- Show respect.
- Avoid distractions.
- Use short simple sentences.
- Offer choices.
- Avoid criticizing, correcting and arguing.
- Take breaks.
“There’s no one book on how to live with dementia,” says Baccam. “Honestly, just keeping the [person’s] daily routine the same as much as possible can help. Take one day at a time and adjust as you go.”
Toast the good times — but don’t be afraid to ask for help. Know that your loved one does still love you, but how they communicate with the world has just changed.