Caring for an aging at-home family member with dementia can be challenging and stressful, as they sometimes forget the simplest things, including who you are. In addition, it can be hard to communicate with them, their moods change at the drop of a hat, and feelings of paranoia and fear are common.
When you’re tired and irritable, your senior loved one may sense your frustration and get triggered by your body language and tone. So, how can you keep a positive attitude while caring for a loved one with dementia? Using the following advice should help it go more smoothly.
Learn to “Speak Their Language”
Not getting through to someone with dementia is a huge obstacle that can be frustrating and stressful for you both, but using effective communication skills should improve the quality of your relationship. Once the barriers start coming down, it will put a smile on both your faces. Learn how to “speak their language” more positively using these pointers:
- Set a positive mood for interacting. Sometimes your attitude and body language send a more powerful message than do your words. Establish a positive mood by speaking to your loved one pleasantly and respectfully. Reassure them through your physical touch, facial expressions, and tone of voice.
- Get their attention. Before speaking to them, create a quiet environment by eliminating all distractions from the room, including noise and visual stimulation. Then, get their attention by addressing them by name, and reassuring them by identifying who you are, and how you are related. Use nonverbal cues and touch to keep them engaged, maintain eye contact, and physically move down to their level.
- Keep it simple. Speak simply, slowly, clearly, and reassuringly. Keep your vo