If you’re visiting or reconnecting with a friend or loved one who is living with dementia, you may face some communication challenges. But don’t let that keep you from connecting. Here are some suggestions to help you overcome those challenges and have engaging conversations, stay connected and maintain your relationship.
Create an inviting space to talk – Whenever possible, have conversations in a quiet space with fewer distractions and pressures. Turn off the TV or other electronics so you can both focus on each other and your conversation. Establishing and maintaining eye contact during the conversation can also help.
Set the tone – What you say and how you say it are important when communicating with anyone, but it’s especially true when you’re talking with someone living with dementia. Be brief and to the point, avoid open-ended questions, and remember that your loved one is not to blame for his or her communication challenges and they’re not trying to be difficult.
Stay in the moment – If a person living with dementia gets confused about details, roll with it and avoid correcting them. If you make small adjustments in how you communicate, you make the most of every conversation.
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This information provided courtesy of Brookdale Senior Living, excerpted from an article written by Juliet Holt Klinger, MA, Expert on Dementia Care