Are you a good listener?
Communicating with a loved one with dementia can be a challenge. Often it's down to carers to initiate conversations and make suggestions, but it's also important to listen and really hear what people with dementia are saying. Bupa dementia expert Dr Graham Stokes says: "I
f you can only remember something for 30 seconds and are facing someone talking endlessly at you, very quickly you forget what the beginning of the conversation was about. All you are facing is a stream of words that might be relatively meaningless." He offers these tips for talking to loved ones:
Use their name often, and pause to allow them enough time to respond.
Use short sentences and leave gaps of 10 to 20 seconds.
Body language and facial expression are just as important as words. Smile, gentle touch their arm. Make sure your tone of voice is warm and positive.
Don't correct mistakes, acknowledge what they've said and reassure them.
Be guided by them with conversation. It doesn't matter if it doesn't make sense to you. Enter their world, don't force them into yours.
Give very simple choices if you need a response, don't overwhelm them with too many options.
Try not to interrupt them. Allow them to express their feelings and views.