What’s the best way for a family to deal with a parent with dementia?
1. First, consult with your doctor.
People who have behavioural problems may have a medical reason for it. For example, the person might be in pain or have an unpleasant side effect from taking the medication. In some situations, like incontinence or hallucinations, medication or therapy may be available to help manage the issue.
2. Set a good mood for talking.
Your body language and attitude say more about your thoughts and emotions than your words. You can set a good mood by talking to your loved one nicely and respectfully. You may use body language, voice tone, and human touch to effectively deliver your message and express your emotions of affection in a conversation.
3. Get their attention.
Turn off the radio or TV, pull the curtains or close the door, or go to a quieter environment to reduce distractions and noise. Then, before you start talking, make sure she’s paying attention. Address her by name, tell her who you are by name and relationship, and use nonverbal cues and touch to keep her in the right mindset. Make eye contact with her even if she is sitting down.
4. Make sure you say what you mean.
Make your sentences and words as straightforward as possible. Speak slowly, clearly, and in a soothing tone. Avoid raising your voice or making it louder. Instead, lower the pitch of your voice. If they didn’t understand your message or questions the first time, use the exact words to repeat it. Wait a few minutes and reword the question if they still don’t understand. To avoid confusion, refer to persons and places by their full names rather than pronouns (he, she, they).
5. Ask simple, easy-to-answer questions.
Single-choice questions with yes/no responses are the most effective. Don’t ask open-ended questions or give too many options. Ask, “Would you want to wear your white shirt or your blue shirt today?” Show her the options—visual clues and recommendations can help clarify your question and lead her response.
6. Listen to them wholeheartedly.
Wait for your loved one’s response with patience. It’s okay to offer words if she’s having trouble coming up with a response. Keep an eye out for nonverbal signs and body language, and respond accordingly. Always try to hear the meaning and emotions behind the words.
7. It’s easier to do things in small steps than to do them all at once.
It makes dealing with a lot of things much more manageable. To help your loved one, you can help him do what he can, kindly remind him of steps he often forgets, and help him with things he can no longer do on his own. It is beneficial to give him visual clues, like showing him where to put the dinner plate with your hand.
8. When things get rough, distract them.
You can change the subject or the surroundings if your loved one gets angry or irritated. Suppose you need their help or want to go for a walk. Before redirecting, make an emotional connection with the person. “I see you’re sad—I’m sorry you’re upset,” you can say. “Let’s go grab some food.”
9. Speak warmly and comfortingly.
Dementia patients frequently experience confusion, anxiety, and self-doubt. Additionally, they often misunderstand reality and may recall events that never actually occurred. Avoid trying to persuade them that they are incorrect. Keep your attention on the feelings they are expressing, which are real, and respond with words and actions that show you care, support, and reassurance. Holding hands, caressing, hugging, and complimenting the person can trigger a response when everything else fails.
I think the best way is to ask simple, answerable questions. Try asking one question at a time; yes or no questions work best. Don’t offer too many options or ask open-ended questions. For instance, ask them, “Would you like to wear your white shirt or blue shirt?” Better still, show them the options.
Many family caregivers of loved ones who suffer from dementia challenge daily with getting them to the doctor, gaining their cooperation, and convincing them to bathe and brush their teeth. Here are some suggestions for communicating with your parents:
• Avoid power struggles,
• Ask about your loved one’s preferences
• Ask simple, answerable questions
• Avoid overwhelming questions
• Be straightforward when speaking to your parents
• Evaluate your attitude
• Listen more than you talk
• Listen to what your loved one is attempting to communicate
• Use the appropriate body language when communicating with your parent