Many caregivers face difficulty communicating with parents who have dementia. The disease impacts the ability to speak and retain information, and it can lead to mood swings. When seniors seem to exist in another reality altogether, it can be challenging for caregivers to provide effective reassurance. However, it’s not impossible. Here are a few tips for comforting a parent with dementia.
Be Aware of Body Language
Because seniors with dementia have difficulty with verbal communication, be aware of your loved one’s body language. Look for gestures, facial expressions, attitudes, and forms of touch that your parent finds reassuring. Some seniors respond positively to hand holding, while others prefer eye contact. Think of body language as a real language you need to learn if you want to communicate effectively with your parent.
Aging in place can present a few challenges for seniors living with dementia. However, they can still live independently at home with the help of professional dementia care. Chandler families can rely on Home Care Assistance to provide their elderly loved ones with mental and social stimulation, timely medication reminders, assistance with meal prep, and much more. Our caregivers are available around the clock to help your loved one live a happier and healthier life.
Listen for the Emotions Behind the Words
When seniors with dementia cannot find the right words, there’s nothing more reassuring than being heard. Give your loved one your full attention, and use physical cues to make him or her feel heard. When your parent speaks, make eye contact and nod in recognition. Refrain from speaking over your loved one, though it’s okay to suggest words when he or she faces difficulty. Respond to the emotions behind the words, even if the words themselves don’t make a lot of sense. If your parent seems distressed or anxious, respond to these emotions, even if he or she isn’t able to convey the reason for the distress.
Create a Soothing Environment
For seniors with dementia, a soothing environment can be just as reassuring as a gentle hug. Keep your loved one’s living space free of unnecessary visual or auditory stressors such as loud noises, busy patterns, vibrant colors, and unexpected movement. When your loved one is distressed, try reducing distracting environmental elements. Turn off the TV, get rid of visual clutter, and make sure your loved one feels safe at home.
Living with a serious health condition can make it challenging for seniors to age in place. However, they can maintain a higher quality of life with the help of professional live-in care. Chandler seniors can benefit from assistance with meal prep, bathing, transportation to the doctor’s office, medication reminders, and much more.
Use Positive Language
When reassuring seniors with dementia, caregivers should use simple language. Older adults may not be able to follow long, complex sentences, so caregivers should keep their statements short. Make sure to use plenty of positive words and reassuring statements. When making these positive statements, use a soothing tone of voice.
When reassuring statements aren’t enough, try to distract your loved one with appealing activities and entertainment. Some seniors are soothed by favorite songs, while others find coloring books relaxing. If you can identify which stress relief activity your loved one responds best to, you may be able to divert his or her attention away from the source of the stress.
If your senior loved one has been diagnosed with a serious condition and needs help with tasks like meal prep, transportation, bathing, and grooming, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of home care Chandler, AZ, families can trust. We also offer comprehensive care for seniors with dementia, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s. To create a customized in-home care plan for your aging parent, give us a call at 480.448.6215 today.