It is very important to know exactly how to talk to a parent suffering from dementia about their future. Use our tips below to guide you through these tough conversations.
Tips For Talking To A Parent With Dementia
Dementia can unfortunately alter one’s personality dramatically. Oftentimes, dementia patients are referred to as “empty shells.” This is not always the case, though, as your loved one may seem perfectly normal on some days. These good days are ideal for having an important conversation about their future.
Here are some tips to keep in mind when discussing a loved one’s well-being:
Recognize The Task At Hand
Dementia does worsen over time, so communicating your wishes and desires for your loved one can be a difficult task. Those suffering from dementia tend to have a hard time both communicating and understanding. This conversation will require a lot of patience.
The setting is a crucial aspect of this conversation. Pick a specific location to sit down and have a talk. Make sure there are zero distractions in the area to help your loved one focus and engage in the conversation.
Be sure to stay calm during this talk and always speak naturally. Staying calm and collected will undoubtedly put your loved one at ease during this difficult process.
Use Their Name Continually
Use your loved one’s name throughout the talk, refraining from using “he” or “she” during the conversation. This is always an important thing to remember when speaking to anyone suffering from dementia.
You will want to keep your one loved one focused on a single talking point for a long period of time. Individuals with dementia tend to have a tough time going back and forth in a complex conversation. Remember to stay on task while being very clear and direct in your communication.
Use Nonverbal Cues
Nonverbal cues include smiling, nodding and maintaining eye contact, among other subtle things to keep your loved one calm. These cues are used to comfort the individual while establishing an understanding, at the same time. Nonverbal communication is very important to use during the late stages of dementia.
Even if you plan on doing the majority of the talking, listening is still key. It’s crucial that your loved one feels heard and valued.
Give your loved one as much time to think as he/she needs. It may be difficult at times, but stay focused and calm.
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