How we interact with people who have dementia is important – because it can have a lingering emotional response to sadness and anger even though they can’t remember or explain why they feel that way.
1. Treat them with respect
People with dementia are not small children. They’re mature adults – most likely above the age of 65 – who had jobs, families, and responsibilities. They may also have been very good at what they did – and are still someone’s mothers and fathers, sisters, brothers, and friends.
2. Don’t ignore them
If you want to ask something, ask them directly and give them a chance to respond before turning to someone else for an answer. Also, don’t talk about them as though they’re not there in the room – because they might understand more than you think.
3. Don’t think they’re always wrong
People with dementia tend to be disbelieved – especially with regard to their discomfort, anxiety or pain. While you can’t always believe 100% of everything they say, the least you can do is allow them the courtesy of speaking their minds instead of snubbing them.
If your friend or relative with dementia look bored, depressed or indifferent, it could mean that they need a change of activity to fill their time. Keeping their minds pleasantly stimulated by hobbies and interests they enjoyed in the past can really help them in a big way.
5. Your tone speaks louder than your words
How you say something (your tone) andwith your body language reveals a lot. Don’t forget that how you interact with a person with dementia can either make them sad, angry or depressed – or reassured and happy – for many hours after your interaction.
6. They need your encouragement, reassurance and support
Don’t let their impaired condition prevent you from encouraging, reassuring and supporting them in whatever way you can. Spend time with them to nurture the relationship – especially at a time when they really need someone by their side. Although dementia can changethe way they think and perceive things, there’s no reason why it should prevent us from loving them. If you’re patient and sensitive, you will both benefit from the time you spend together –now and in the future.
What other interesting information can you share with us about dementia? Do let us know – we’d love to hear from you!
Ashiana Housing build homes. Homes surrounded by vast green spaces and fresh breeze. Homes cocooned in secured gated complexes. Homes where futures are forged and there are opportunities to grow. And Homes in environments brimming with healthy activity, trust and respect. At heart, we build communities with care.