Dealing with a loved one who is suffering from dementia is never easy. You may not know the proper way to communicate with them, and you can sometimes commit a faux pas without even realizing it. Whether your loved one is still living at home or is in a trusted Colorado assisted living facility, it’s important to know some of the dos and don’ts of communication.
What Are Things You Should Never Do to Someone With Dementia?
While there is no perfect strategy for communicating with someone with dementia, there are some guidelines to follow. These can help you overcome the initial awkwardness and anxiety while helping avoid upsetting the patient. Cognitive decline is not always the same for everyone, so you should tailor your conversations to the family member and how they react when you speak with them.
Don’t Be Patronizing or Overly Correcting
Even if you don’t intend to, it can be very easy to start being patronizing or talking down to a person with dementia. You shouldn’t treat a family member with dementia like a child, as they have not reverted to childhood. Someone with dementia struggles to remember facts and skills, while a child can learn and grow their skills.
You shouldn’t speak to a person with dementia as you would a child. Rather, you should aim to have an intellectually stimulating conversation with them. There are more benefits to speaking on their level and treating them like an adult.
Additionally, people with dementia are prone to forget information, whether it be something in the past or a topic you just discussed a few minutes ago. If the person you are talking with says something wrong, there’s no reason to correct them.
Correcting the person on wrong information won’t help the situation in any way. You will come off as argumentative and combative, and the person you’re talking to will feel embarrassed and may get angry. If they are aware enough to know that they made a mistake, they will likely correct themselves when they realize their error.
Don’t Attempt to Act as a Doctor
While you may need to make decisions about your loved one’s continued care and health if they are suffering from dementia, you shouldn’t try to act as their doctor. You likely aren’t qualified to determine if their condition is changing, and attempting to make these declarations won’t help.
Dementia patients often have good and bad days. Some days, they will be alert and can accurately recall most information. On other days, they may have trouble remembering certain topics. Quizzing them on the topics or trying to take the temperature of their condition will likely only lead to anger and anxiety.
You should have a doctor regularly check on your loved one and monitor their condition. They can also provide information to you about the ideal way to deal with the situation and if they should seek help from an assisted living facility.
Don’t Remind Them of Upsetting Topics
You should try to avoid delving into old memories, especially unpleasant ones. Don’t remind your loved one that someone they knew and cared for has passed away. You should also avoid quizzing them on past experiences. Instead, focus on positive statements. Rather than asking if they remember what happened the last time you visited, you should gently remind them of the previous encounter by pointing out a memorable moment.
You also should avoid upsetting someone with dementia by bringing up triggering topics. Don’t talk about politics or religion if you know that it may lead to an argument. Try to steer the conversation to positive topics or ones less likely to offend.
Should You Put Someone With Dementia in an Assisted Living Facility?
If your loved one is in the early stages of dementia, an assisted living facility may work well in the immediate future. These facilities often have the staff and amenities to care for your loved one.
Once the disease reaches its later stages and memory loss becomes more common, it may be time to consider a Denver memory care facility. These programs offer intensive care for those who struggle to remember things, and they have a trained staff who know the right ways to help.
Q: What Are Some Topics to Avoid With Someone Suffering From Dementia?
A: You shouldn’t bring up any topics that could spiral into a fight with someone suffering from dementia. Issues like politics or religion should be avoided if they may lead to an argument. You should also avoid bringing up deceased relatives or loved ones, as it will only cause discomfort and pain.
Q: Can You Leave People With Dementia Home Alone?
A: Determining when a loved one cannot live alone anymore is difficult. In general, someone with mild symptoms of dementia or Alzheimer’s may be able to live alone for a time. However, even someone in the early stages of the disease can be in danger when living alone. You should discuss the matter with a doctor and get their opinion before making a choice.
Q: Do People With Dementia Like Being Alone?
A: People with dementia don’t like to be ignored, just like anyone else. You shouldn’t reduce your visits to someone with dementia, and you should try to engage with them in conversation as much as you can when you’re around. Having stimulating conversations with other people is good for those with dementia, as it may slow down memory loss and cognitive decline.
Q: Is There a Preferred Living Situation for Someone With Dementia?
A: If someone is in the early stages of dementia or Alzheimer’s, they may be able to stay at an assisted living facility if their cognitive decline is not impacting their quality of life too much. However, when the symptoms and memory loss get worse, it may be time to find a memory care facility.
Rocky Mountain Assisted Living: Experienced Colorado Memory Care Facilities
If you need to find a new home for your loved one who is suffering from dementia or Alzheimer’s, we can help. At Rocky Mountain Assisted Living, we have memory care facilities across Colorado to help aid seniors. Contact us today for a tour and learn more about our team and how we support our residents.