It can be difficult for people without dementia to engage with people that have. People living with dementia can find it hard to communicate.
It’s important that the environment you talk in is conducive to a good chat. Try to minimise background noise as people with dementia can become easily distracted.
Try to establish eye contact and be on the same level as the person you are talking to. This will help them pick up on visual cues about the conversation. People with dementia won’t move or talk at the same pace as you, so take you time and speak slowly and clearly.
People with dementia can often remember feelings but not what has caused them. An effective way to start a conversation with someone living with dementia is to really look at their mood and comment on it, for example ‘You look happy today’ or ‘You seem worried today.’
Keep sentences short to make it easier for a person with dementia to follow you. Think of a subject meaningful to you both. Be a good listener and give them time to think and respond. For those with short term memory loss it is easy to forget the beginning of a conversation.
Having a visual aids can really help people with dementia stay focused. Pictures and objects will help. For example have the medication with you if that is what you need to talk about. If it is about a family member, have a picture of that family member with you.
There are lots of online resources to help start conversations or just help the dementia suffer relax and reminisce. For example: https://www.deckchaircare.co.uk/blog/music-website-help-dementia-suffers/
For those living with dementia, their long-term memories will be precious and often still vivid to them.
Work, childhood, music or food are all great topics of conversation.
About Deckchair Care
Deckchair Care are an independent, privately-owned care agency. We look after the elderly in Cheshire and South Manchester.
Read more about our care service on our website here.