Communicating with Those Living with Dementia

Because dementia disorders, like Alzheimer’s, are a progressive illness, you may find that as your aging loved one’s mental abilities decline, so too does their ability to communicate. Whether you have a private nursing job in Phoenix working with dementia patients or are a family member of someone with dementia, coping with these behavioral changes can be challenging.

Providers of in home nursing care in Phoenix find that the following suggestions are invaluable when communicating with a patient living with Alzheimer’s or other dementia disorders:

Keep it Simple!  Simplify your statements and avoid being too lengthy; These are the primary rules that Phoenix homecare agencies  emphasize while communicating with a loved one with memory loss.

Easy as 1-2-3

  1. Say the individual’s name and identify yourself to him or her
  2. Establish and maintain eye contact
  3. State your message using simple words

Keep it positive (avoid the negative)

Negative: “Don’t put your hand in the gravy”     Positive: “Please put your hands in your lap” (use gestures).

 Avoid questions

Top-rated Phoenix homecare agencies recommend limiting questions to continue communication with those with dementia. “We are having macaroni for lunch today” (smile)… versus: “What would you like for lunch today?”  There are exceptions.  Remember life is about daily change so be flexible.  If you need to ask a question, limit the choices given  “Would you like chicken or macaroni today?”

One step at a time

Providers of in home nursing care in Phoenix find that working with clients who have dementia is made easier when they Break tasks into simple steps:

  •  “Pick up the comb”
  •  “Comb your hair”
  • “Pick up your toothbrush”
  • “Put the toothbrush on your teeth”
  • “Move the toothbrush on your teeth” etc.

Speak to your loved on as an adult

Be aware of your tone of voice.  Remember to preserve your loved one’s dignity at all times.  It is common to use the word “we” as in “Don’t we look pretty today?” Instead, say “You look very nice today” which is more respectful.

Non-Verbal Communication

Tone of voice, facial expressions, touch and gestures are effective and important parts of communicating with your loved one.

The staff of Nightingale Homecare   is uniquely qualified to provide Alzheimer’s, dementia and memory loss care through our Connections Program , using the unique approach taught by Dr. Verna Benner-Carson through her “Alzheimer’s Whisperer®” methods.   Alzheimer’s Whisperers enter the client’s world and manage the challenging behaviors associated with dementia in a way that is gentle, creative and highly effective.  These skills are taught to the families of our dementia clients, by the clinical staff of Nightingale Homecare, providing medical care in Paradise Valley, Scottsdale, Glendale and throughout the Phoenix metro area. These skills, taught to families and caregivers, then enable the person with dementia to continue to be cared for safely at home.

Call Nightingale at (602) 504-1555 or contact us online  for more information and for more examples on dementia and Alzheimer’s assessment, training and teaching tools.  Whether you need in home nursing care in Phoenix or another Phoenix homecare service.  Nightingale Phoenix Homecare  can help you  Experience Success in Living with Dementia!