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7 Strategies for Speaking to Aging Adults with Dementia

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Dementia can affect the way seniors interpret information and express themselves. Difficulty carrying on a conversation could be one of the first symptoms you notice in your elderly loved one. However, when family caregivers speak effectively, it can reduce many communication challenges. Try these strategies when speaking to your loved one.

1. Use Short Sentences

Your loved one’s attention span may decrease as dementia progresses, which is why you need to avoid long sentences when speaking with him or her. Short sentences don’t require much focus from your parent. He or she can keep up with the conversation without being anxious and confused.

2. Ask One Question at a Time

Engaging in a conversation about multiple topics can be difficult for older adults. Likewise, you should avoid asking more than one question at a time. Instead, waiting until your parent has answered the question before moving on to another topic can alleviate confusion and reduce agitation. The objective is to communicate conversationally and avoid asking multiple consecutive questions.

There are a variety of age-related health conditions that can make it more challenging for seniors to live independently. However, many of the challenges they face can be easier to manage if their families opt for professional elderly home care. You can rely on expertly trained caregivers to keep your loved one safe and comfortable while aging in place.

3. Speak Slowly

If you talk too quickly, it can be difficult for your loved one to keep up. Speak slowly enough for him or her to follow the conversation. Look for nonverbal clues that let you know your loved one comprehends what you’re saying. You can adjust your pacing based on these clues. When you speak at a slower pace, it gives your loved one time to process the information and respond accordingly.

4. Don’t Yell

Remain calm when carrying on conversations with your parent. A negative tone could cause him or her to become upset, fearful, and stressed out. If you speak too loudly, it could increase the risk of combative behavior, which is common in older adults with dementia. Use a warm, calm tone to keep the atmosphere positive and reduce behavioral problems.

Caring for a senior loved one can be challenging for families who don’t have expertise or professional training in home care, but this challenge doesn’t have to be faced alone. Family caregivers can turn to Bethlehem Home Care Assistance for the help they need. We provide high-quality live-in and respite care as well as comprehensive Alzheimer’s, dementia, stroke, and Parkinson’s care.

5. Speak Clearly

Dementia negatively affects brain functioning, so your sentences must be clear and concise. Confusion is a standard symptom associated with this disorder, and your speaking unclearly could make the conversation difficult for your parent to follow. Another tip is to avoid using slang words.

6. Be Respectful

Although you may need to use words that are easier for your loved one to understand, never speak to him or her like a child. Avoid using “baby talk” because it can seem condescending, even if you mean no harm. Base your discussion topics and language on your loved one’s cognitive abilities as well as his or her mental and emotional wellbeing.

7. Use Names When Speaking

Refrain from using pronouns when speaking to your loved one. For example, when walking into your loved one’s room, say your full name, as opposed to statements like “It’s me.” When referring to people, places, and things, use full names to make conversations less challenging and trigger memories.

If you’re looking for reliable dementia care, Bethlehem Home Care Assistance offers high-quality at-home care for seniors who are managing the challenges of cognitive decline. We offer a revolutionary program called the Cognitive Therapeutics Method (CTM), which uses mentally stimulating activities to boost cognitive health in the elderly. CTM has proven to help seniors with dementia regain a sense of pride and accomplishment and learn how to engage with others in an enjoyable way. Call us at 484-350-3874 today to talk to one of our compassionate Care Managers about our high-quality dementia home care services.