Some tips to enjoy spending time with a loved one who lives with Dementia.
Choose the Right Place
Sounds and lights can be distracting, particularly when you are trying to communicate well. To effectively communicate try to remove distractions or go to a quieter place.
If you’re feeling anxious, this can change the tone of your voice, facial expression, or your body language. Your loved one might pick up on this and become anxious or restless themselves. Use gentle tones and allow them time to respond. Just “being” with each other is “ok” It is often enough to be together.
Keep it simple
Too much information will increase confusion. A simple task like choosing lunch can be a daunting. Use closed questions and be specific, such as “would you like a drink? are you cold”, prompt “yes”, “no” answers.
Patient all the way
Dementia affects the process of thinking, speaking and remembering. Answering questions and problem solving can be difficult. Smile, relax, give your loved one time, listen to them.
Challenging at times
Having a loved one who lives with Dementia can be a challenge. Remember that this is a challenge for “You” and your “loved one”. It is a progressive condition that can hide the person. Look beyond this and use what you already know about your loved one’s life history to communicate with them effectively.
Visit as usual
Routine gives a feeling of security and safety for loved ones living with dementia. Regular time and familiar place helps to orientate and reassure. Try to maintain a routine when visiting. Discuss with those caring for your loved one ‘when is the best time?’ and if appropriate avoid the end of the day, when tiredness may affect communication.
Enjoy the visit
Talking about family and friends, or happy times shared, reliving memories of celebrations or working life can be meaningful. Dementia is a progressive disorder and affects different parts of the brain. It can impair your loved one’s ability to express themselves effectively. This does not mean they have lost their feelings of love for you.