A communication breakdown can be one of the most difficult aspects of caring for someone with dementia — and it’s frustrating for the patient as well as for loved ones.
Are you taking care of someone with dementia and struggling to relate to their situation? Here’s what he might want to tell you if he could.
It’s not me; it’s the dementia.
Please don’t take it personally if I lose my temper or constantly criticize you. If you can’t get me interested in activities, I always loved don’t think you are doing something wrong. Personality changes like this are often part of the progression of dementia.
Your tone sets the tone of our interactions.
If you are upbeat and happy, I will usually respond the same way. But, if you are overly critical or speak harshly, I may get defensive and shut down.
My reality is different from yours.
I believe I am hungry, even though I’ve just eaten. Don’t make me wrong by reminding me of the fact. Try saying “Okay, it’s almost time to eat again.” Or, if I ask how long until dinner right after lunch, you can simply say “soon”.
Spare me grief.
If I keep calling for my dog who died years ago, shift my attention to something else. Reminding me over and over that he has passed brings fresh grief every time.
Please don’t embarrass me.
I know it’s frustrating when I constantly need your help using the TV remote, but please don’t make me feel stupid about something so minor. Save your criticism for something major – like leaving the stove on or forgetting to take my medicines.
Please don’t be embarrassed by me.
Friends, waiters, and store clerks are usually patient and understanding. They are not judging me, or you.
I enjoy listening to the music of my youth, and it almost always calms me.
If I could thank you for all that you are doing for me, I would. I love you.
SYNERGY HomeCare caregivers are trained in dealing with the many facets of dementia patients. If you need help in understanding how to care for your loved one with dementia, or you need help in caring for them please click here to find a SYNERGY HomeCare office near you.