Organizing a move, whether you are downsizing, upsizing or rightsizing is high on the stress meter. But assisting someone who has dementia adds another complex layer. If you are helping move a loved one into a new family home or care facility, typical communication patterns may not be effective.
We contacted Karen Tyrell of Personalized Dementia Solutions Inc. to get her perspective on effective communication strategies for individuals who have Alzheimer’s disease or other related dementias. Here are some of her tips:
In early stages of dementia
- Find a quiet place to talk and limit distractions. Recap conversations at the end if necessary. Try writing things down to help provide a visual reminder of your conversation
- Avoid arguing or correcting them when they have said or did something wrong
- Do your best to keep the mood positive
In the later stages of dementia
- Start conversations by making eye contact and mentioning their name in order to get their attention
- Communicate using short, simple sentences along with visual clues. You may need to ask questions that only require a simple yes or no answer. Request the person to point or gesture if they can’t find the right word
- Pay attention to body language and facial expressions to understand what the person is experiencing or trying to express
Moving homes can be an emotional period for caregivers and a confusing time for people with memory problems. However, with patience and good communication, the process can be made much easier.
To learn more about Karen Tyrell, Dementia Consultant, educator, & author of Cracking the Dementia Code – Creative Solutions for Changed Behaviours, visit her website.