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Living with Dementia: How to Talk to a Parent with Dementia

April 2019
how to talk to a parent with dementia

Dementia is a condition that affects nearly 50 million people worldwide. This disease affects a person’s ability to remember the people around them and prohibits them from communicating like they once did.

Not only does dementia affect the person that is inflicted with it, but their family members also suffer as well. If your parent has been displaying signs of dementia, you will have to find a new way of communicating with them.

Read below to find out more about how to talk to a parent with dementia.

Learning How to Talk to a Parent With Dementia Starts with Setting the Right Tone

The main thing you need to focus on when attempting to communicate with a person who has dementia is setting a positive mood for this interaction. Often, dementia patients will notice a person’s body language and attitude more than the words they are speaking.

This is why you need to focus on calmly approaching your parent when speaking with them. Lightly touching them as you speak can help them feel more at ease. You will also need to keep your tone of voice down, so you don’t startle them as you begin to speak.

Focus on Getting Their Attention

Before you attempt to talk to a person with dementia, be sure to eliminate any distractions that may be around. Doing things like turning off the television or radio can help you get their undivided attention.

People with dementia have a short attention span, which is why you have to work on eliminating anything that may take their focus off of what you are saying. Once you have their attention, start the conversation by calling them by name.

Once you see they recognize their name, you need to proceed by telling them your name and what your relation is. Doing this will help you greatly as you continue the conversation.

Avoid Over-Complicating Things

One of the biggest mistakes you can make when trying to talk with a person who has dementia is making your sentence and words too complicated. Speaking slowly and distinctly can help you get through to your parent.

If you see that your parent does not understand what you are telling or asking them, try repeating it a few times. In some instances, you may have to reword the question to simplify it for them.

Instead of getting frustrated with this process, you need to remain positive, confident, and persistent.

Activities Need to be Broken Down Into Steps

If the conversation you are having with your parent is about an activity you want them to engage in, try breaking it down into steps. Providing a dementia patient with too much information can overwhelm and confuse them.

By breaking down the activity into steps, you can reduce the stress or worry this feeling of being overwhelmed can cause. Remaining calm during this interaction will help you get your point across.

Seeking Out Professional Help

Learning how to talk to a parent with dementia can be easier with the help of professionals. A healthcare professional who treats these patients will often have some knowledge they can share.

Are you looking for dementia treatment options for your parent? If so, contact us today to find out about how we can help.

 

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