Trying to stay calm during a particularly difficult discussion can always be a test of your patience. But when you are dealing with seniors you are suffering from dementia or Alzheimer’s it is important to take special care when interacting with them. While it may be easier to become frustrated and angry try to put yourself in their shoes. Your loved one is probably scared and confused, so by speaking kindly to them, it may make all the difference.
1. Find a specialist.
Finding an Alzheimer’s specialist is key to putting a plan of action together for you and your loved one. Usually, primary care physicians or general practitioners should be able to diagnose Alzheimer’s disease. But it may help to find a doctor who specializes in geriatrics, a study of medicine that centers around disease and problems for those who are in the older age bracket. Another great option, once there is a diagnosis, is to look into finding a great neurologist. These doctors specialize in the nervous system and will have more information on any of these types of conditions and be aware of new treatments. Once you choose the right doctor, you and your family can start crafting a plan to best care for the patient and their needs.
2. Limit distractions.
When a person is struggling with dementia it can be difficult for them to concentrate. You will want to make their environment as pleasant as possible. It also will help if they have a good place for them to talk. You may start to notice they remove themselves from conversations due to not being able to hear or confusion from all the noise. It is best to speak slowly and clearly, giving them a chance to process the conversation. If you suspect that they may also be suffering from hearing loss you can look into Hearing Health USA. This company specializes in hearing aids, hearing tests, and tinnitus treatments nation-wide. You may also want to think about turning the TV off to show your loved one that they have your full attention and they have yours.
3. Use body language.
Using a positive body language can show your loved one that they do not need to be upset if they can not properly communicate their point. Making sure you are smiling, reassures the patient that whatever their problem is whether it is memory loss, bad hearing, or confusion you are listening. Body language is a form of non-verbal communication where physical attributes rather than words are used to express information. Making eye contact is also important as it will keep their attention for a longer period of time. You can also try a gentle touch. It is important to not make any dramatic moves or faces as it may upset them.
4. Be an active listener.
Choosing to be an active listener involves studying the speaker’s actions and own body language as they speak. It is important that you learn the ability to interpret your loved one’s personal language, as it will give you a better understanding of their message. Active listening shows your loved one that they are valued and heard.
5. Bring joy.
It is extremely important that you figure out what brings your loved one joy. A patient with dementia or other neurodegenerative diseases will have dark days as they start to lose their memory. Most of the time people with Alzheimer’s are better at recalling-long term memories, so it may be helpful to talk about their younger days and show them pictures. Using art and music can also help to calm down the patient and trigger memories.