31 Mar 2014
Dementia awareness with Alzheimer's Society
Five tips on communicating with dementia sufferers with patience and respect
Living with a dementia can make the world a frustrating and confusing place to live in. The latest video from the Alzheimer's Society
recreates a typical day in the life of a dementia sufferer, carrying out simple tasks such as going to the shops and using public transport and the challenges that arise.
As someone who has not encountered dementia in a friend or family member, repetitive questions or the failure to understand simple tasks can cause aggravation. Here are some tips to dealing with those with dementia respectfully:
- Share a laugh - Some days may be harder than others, but make sure to enjoy a light moment where possible. People with dementia retain their social skills and will enjoy interacting with you.
- Break activities into steps - Rather than presenting a huge task to someone with dementia, break them into into a series of manageable steps for them to complete.
- Listen with all your senses - If the person you are communicating with is having trouble responding verbally, observe their body language and suggest an answer which you think is appropriate.
- Limit the available answers - Instead of presenting a dementia sufferer with an open-ended question, offer them a limited list of choices. For example, instead of 'What are you going to wear today?', you could ask 'Would you like to wear the blue shirt or white shirt today?'
- Speak clearly & positively - When communicating with someone with dementia, try to limit distractions so they can focus on what you are saying. Always speak in a positive tone, avoiding sounding exasperated if you are not getting the expected response.
At Caremark, many of the elderly individuals we care for live with dementia and a number of our offices offer a specialised dementia service. For further reading, have a look at Caremark (Mid Surrery)'s guide on creating a dementia box
and Caremark (Barnsley)'s commitment to creating a dementia friendly community