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How To Talk To An Elderly Person With Dementia

Expect To Hear The Same Things Again And Again

How to Talk to Someone With Dementia

My experience has been that those with dementia often have a few stories they like to retell or remember. I know that whenever we drive by a particular church, my aunt will tell me about the funeral with the ladies in red hats. When we go by the funeral home, Ill hear about a conversation she had with the director.

Whenever possible, I dont interrupt. Instead, I listen as though Ive never heard the story before. If I absolutely cant bear to hear it again, I might jump in with an Oh, I think you may have mentioned this. Is this when and fill in the blank. But mostly, I simply listen. Letting them tell their favorite stories makes the conversation more enjoyable for both of us.

Signs Of Dying In The Elderly With Dementia

Dementia is a general term for a chronic or persistent decline in mental processes including memory loss, impaired reasoning, and personality changes. Alzheimers disease is the most common form of dementia, accounting for 60-80% of all cases of dementia. It is also the 6th leading cause of death in the United States, and over 5 million Americans are currently living with Alzheimers disease.

Alzheimers disease and most progressive dementias do not have a cure. While the disease inevitably worsens over time, that timeline can vary greatly from one patient to the next.

Caring for a loved one can be challenging and stressful, as the individuals personality changes and cognitive function declines. They may even stop recognizing their nearest and dearest friends and relatives. As dementia progresses, the individual will require more and more care. As a family caregiver, its important to be able to recognize the signs of dying in elderly with dementia. Hospice can help by offering care wherever the individual resides, providing physical, emotional and spiritual care to the patient and support their family.

What Are Light And Easy Ways To Communicate

Asking for opinions is an easeful way to have a fun conversation with a dementia patient. A family member or caregiver may ask the senior his opinion about a musical melody or a painting. Answers to such questions have no right or wrong answer, which encourages self-confidence in the senior.

Raising the seniors past accomplishments also lends to a pleasurable talk. If the elderly individual had started his own company, been an excellent cook or built birdhouses from scratch, bringing up these achievements amidst conversation will do wonders to promote self-esteem in the senior.

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Make The Move Seamless

Packing and the move itself can be very distressing for someone with dementia. There are some ways to ensure that things go well.

  • Arrange for packing of all belongings without your parent present.
  • When the move occurs, take your parent out for the day to a park or lunch. Think of anything that is pleasant and distracting.
  • Ask another family member to unpack and place everything before your parent returns. This might seem like a lot to do, but if the whole sequence of events is tightly scheduled, it can work.
  • When you bring your parent back to assisted living, their room with all of their familiar items is organized and put away.

Should You Discuss Current Interests

Tips for Communicating with People with Dementia

Although the brains of seniors with dementia are more readily able to recollect past memories rather than recent ones, asking about the current news, the weather or the days afternoon of digging in the garden is perfectly acceptable and can lead to an agreeable conversation.

While dementia adversely affects a persons ability to communicate, family members can still enjoy the company of the senior. Since dementia is a progressive condition and will only worsen with time, it is important to make sure the senior is well-cared for by a caregiver from Assisting Hands Home Care.

As a premier home care agency prepared to meet the non-medical needs of seniors, Assisting Hands Home Care is staffed with a team of qualified memory care providers. We ensure that our care recipients suffering from dementia continue to live safely in the comfort of their homes.

When dementia causes the senior to wander, experience incontinence, become agitated or simply forget how to perform daily routines, an Assisting Hands Home Care dementia caregiver will gently guide the individual to safety, provide discreet assistance or skillfully calm him down.

Families with senior loved ones living in Brookfield, Wisconsin, turn to Assisting Hands Home Care for the most compassionate dementia care available. Our care plans are flexible and will accommodate changes to care needs as the dementia progresses. Call us at for a free in-home assessment.

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Excessive Swearing Offensive Language And Inappropriate Comments

When a senior suddenly begins spouting the worst profanities, using offensive language or saying inappropriate things, family members are often baffled as to why and what they can do about it.

Caregivers have shared countless stories in the forum about elders who used to be mild-mannered and proper suddenly cursing at them or calling them insulting names. When these verbal outbursts happen in private, theyre hurtful When they happen in public, its also embarrassing.

Coping With Verbally Aggressive Behavior in the Elderly

When this behavior is out of character for an elder and gradually gets worse, the start of Alzheimers disease or another form of dementia is a likely cause. If the onset is quite sudden, a urinary tract infection is another common culprit. UTIs present very differently in seniors than in younger individuals, and symptoms often include behavioral changes like agitation.

But if dementia is not an issue and a senior is just plain crass, how do you deal with swearing and rudeness? You can try to set firm ground rules for them. Make it perfectly clear that you will not tolerate such language, especially in public settings. A little bit of guilt may be effective in getting them to realize that their behavior is unacceptable and offensive to other people. Try something like, Dad, if Mom were here right now, she would be appalled by your language, or, You would never want your grandchildren to hear you speaking like that, would you?

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How To Discuss Potential Abuse With A Senior

Remember that many seniors are proud and may be embarrassed to find themselves in such a difficult or embarrassing situation. Approach any conversations about financial abuse carefully and with compassion. Let your loved one know that youre here to help and not judge, and that support is available to them.

It may take them a little while to feel comfortable discussing the issue, but removing shame from conversations about money can go a long way towards enabling them to open up about the financial exploitation that they have been facing.

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Caregiving In The Early Stages Of Alzheimers Or Dementia

In the early stages of Alzheimers disease or another type of dementia, your loved one may not need much caregiving assistance. Rather, your role initially may be to help them come to terms with their diagnosis, plan for the future, and stay as active, healthy, and engaged as possible.

Accept the diagnosis. Accepting a dementia diagnosis can be just as difficult for family members as it for the patient. Allow yourself and your loved one time to process the news, transition to the new situation, and grieve your losses. But dont let denial prevent you from seeking early intervention.

Deal with conflicting emotions. Feelings of anger, frustration, disbelief, grief, denial, and fear are common in the early stages of Alzheimers or dementiafor both the patient and you, the caregiver. Let your loved one express what theyre feeling and encourage them to continue pursuing activities that add meaning and purpose to their life. To deal with your own fears, doubts, and sadness, find others you can confide in.

Make use of available resources. There are a wealth of community and online resources to help you provide effective care on this journey. Start by finding the Alzheimers Association in your country . These organizations offer practical support, helplines, advice, and training for caregivers and their families. They can also put you in touch with local support groups.

Communication With Elders During The Different Stages Of Alzheimers And Other Dementias: What To Expect

Dementia Tips – How to Speak to Someone with Advanced Dementia

In the mild stage, an individual is still able to participate in give-and-take dialogue, have meaningful conversations, and engage in social activities. However, he or she may repeat stories, have difficulty finding the right word, or feel overwhelmed by excessive verbal stimulation.

The moderate stage is typically the longest and can last for many years. As the disease progresses, the person will have greater difficulty communicating and will require more direct care.

The severe stage may last from several weeks to several years. As the disease advances, the person may rely on nonverbal communication such as facial expressions or vocal sounds. Around-the-clock care is usually required in this stage.

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How To Talk With A Parent About Dementia Symptoms

  • /
  • How To Talk With A Parent About Dementia Symptoms

  • Watching your parents age can be difficult and when signs of dementia appear, it can be harder than ever. Talking to parents about these changes may seem overwhelming, but having the tough conversation now can lead to an earlier diagnosis and will help everyone better cope with the changes.

    Learn more about talking to a parent exhibiting dementia symptoms.

    Spend Time With Your Partner And Children

    Caring for someone with dementia can quickly become the focus of attention for the household. Young children and spouses can feel excluded and left behind. Take time to schedule activities for just the family. A family member or professional caregiver can stay with your loved one and bring special activities so it is a fun evening for him or her as well.

    • Create a family calendar. This should include not just appointments, but fun activities centered on togetherness.
    • Find a support system. Being the primary caregiver doesnt mean one has to be the only caregiver. Create a tag team and let other family members get involved.
    • Talk things through. Shine a light on the factors that may stress relationships by holding a family meeting.

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    The Best Way To Start Talking To Someone With Dementia Introduce Yourself

    This step might not be needed for someone with early or mid-stage dementia that you see on a regular basis. However, if there is any doubt whether the person youre visiting will recognize you, its best to introduce yourself and include how you know each other. However, dont stress out too much if they continually get your name wrong even after the introduction has been made. Thats normal.

    Emotions And Touch Awareness

    7 Tips for Talking to Seniors With Dementia

    How does the person look? What emotions are they showing? Being sensitive to the persons mood can offer an opportunity to begin a conversation . Does the person respond to touch in a positive way? A light touch on the back of the hand can often feel reassuring and non-threatening. If the person moves their hand away from you, take your cue from them and be careful how you use touch. If the person takes the opportunity to clasp your hand this may be an indication that they need more physical reassurance and support. With people who are quite withdrawn, a gentle touch on the cheek can be a way of getting them to look at you. Again be sensitive to their reaction to the touch and take your lead from them.

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    Tips On How To Care For Someone With Dementia

    With one person in the world developing dementia every 3 seconds and an estimated 50 million or more people living with the condition globally, dementia is a very real problem.1 Getting the right care is crucial to maintaining a good quality of life for those coping with this problem. To add to it, dementia doesnt just affect the individual but also those around them. Navigating what can sometimes be a very emotional and difficult path may seem daunting, but there are some ways to make it easier. What follows is a look at how to care for someone with dementia, ways to keep them happier, and for you to cope too.

    Know When Its Time To Bring In Outside Help

    Sometimes, even though every fiber of your being tells you that you should be able to handle the demands of caregiving, you dont have to do it alone. If and when this time arrives, in-home care can be a true blessing for family caregivers.

    In-home care services offer help with the many activities of daily living in the seniors own home, including:

    • Companionship
    • Grocery shopping and/or making meals
    • Transportation
    • Medication reminders

    You can also consider respite care, which gives you a little time away for yourself.

    You can relax, knowing that your mother or father will be well cared for while you are away. Respite care services may help you return to your caregiving tasks with renewed energy and enthusiasm.

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    Having A Conversation With Someone With Dementia

    Communication is critical for everyone. There are two main forms of communication verbal and non-verbal . This feature focuses on the verbal form of communication and will provide you with some practical tips on how to help a person with dementia.

    For information on non-verbal communication, see the feature in this section on Behaviour as a form of communication.

    What we say should match how we say it the tone we use… and the faces that we pull while we are saying it.

    For more on the importance of good communication, and from the point of view of people with dementia themselves, read the feature What other people can do to help me live well in the section Getting to know the person with dementia.

    How To Recognize Early Dementia Symptoms

    3 Ways to Talk to Dementia

    The Alzheimers Association identifies 10 early signs and symptoms of dementia that can help Alzheimers experts and medical professionals diagnose dementia earlier:

  • Challenges in planning or problem-solving.
  • Changes in mood and personality.
  • Confusion with place or time.
  • Difficulty completing familiar tasks.
  • Memory loss that disrupts daily life.
  • Misplacing objects.
  • Trouble understanding spatial relationships and visual images.
  • Withdrawal from social activities.
  • Diagnosing Alzheimers and related forms of dementia early may allow someone experiencing the symptoms access to new drug trials, giving them a broader treatment plan with more options. Additionally, an early diagnosis can help you and your family plan financially and legally for your future.

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    Tips For Managing Dementia End

    Because individuals with advanced dementia will often have difficulty communicating, it is important that caregivers keep a close eye on their loved one for signs of pain or discomfort. These signs may include moaning or yelling, restlessness or an inability to sleep, grimacing, or sweating. This may also signal that its time to call hospice or a palliative care team to help with the pain management.

    If an individual with end-stage dementia is having trouble sitting up without assistance, hospice can provide a hospital bed or other equipment to lift their head.

    Perhaps the hardest thing for families is when a loved one with dementia is no longer able to eat or swallow. Because an individual with dementia is unable to understand the benefits of feeding tubes or IV drips, they will often be incredibly distressed and attempt to remove them, causing added pain and risk of infection. Instead, focusing on keeping the individual comfortable. Supporting them with mouth care to prevent their mouth from becoming dry will allow them to make their final transition in peace.

    Tips For Moving A Parent With Dementia To Assisted Living

    As much as you might like to avoid the difficulties of transporting your parent directly to assisted living, there are no shortcuts. You may dread having to talk about the move, to even making adjustments after your loved one is safe in your chosen community.

    Jump ahead to these sections:

    The bumps in the road might be minor or they might be significant. If you are making this choice, it is because you need to. Whether it is for your parents safety or to relieve you of overwhelming caregiver duties, it can be a hard but necessary move to make.

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    The Challenges And Rewards Of Alzheimers Care

    Caring for a person with Alzheimers disease or dementia can often seem to be a series of grief experiences as you watch your loved ones memories disappear and skills erode. The person with dementia will change and behave in different, sometimes disturbing or upsetting ways. For both caregivers and their patients, these changes can produce an emotional wallop of confusion, frustration, and sadness.

    As the disease advances through the different stages, your loved ones needs increase, your caregiving and financial responsibilities become more challenging, and the fatigue, stress, and isolation can become overwhelming. At the same time, the ability of your loved one to show appreciation for all your hard work only diminishes. Caregiving can literally seem like a thankless task.

    For many, though, a caregivers journey includes not only huge challenges, but also many rich, life-affirming rewards.

    Caregiving is a pure expression of love. Caring for a person with Alzheimers or dementia connects you on a deeper level. If you were already close, it can bring you closer. If you werent close before, it can help you resolve differences, find forgiveness, and build new, warmer memories with your family member.

    Caregiving can teach younger family members the importance of caring, compassion, and acceptance. Caregiving for someone with dementia is such a selfless act. Despite the stress, demands, and heartache, it can bring out the best in us to serve as role models for our children.

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