Caregivers understand that dementia care requires the ability to be flexible and accommodate any unexpected outbursts or mood swings associated with the disorder. It is sometimes possible to reduce or entirely avoid frustrating ordeals with these communication tips.
- Make sure you connect with them on a personal level before any task. Talking to them, saying their name, drawing them into even a brief encouraging conversation can put them at ease and allow the task to be completed.
- It is easy to forget that looming over someone or leaning down into their space can be intimidating and distressing. Instead, make sure you talk at their level by sitting or squatting so that you are at eye level.
- Physical touch during a task that might be hard can give a sense of safety and support. Holding their dominant hand can lend emotional strength.
- Keep directions, questions, and request simple and short. This is easier to follow and allows you to avoid confusion fueled irritation.
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You can try to calm down an individual with dementia if they are upset by a task or situation, try doing the following.
- Gently grasp their hands and move their arms up and down at an even pace. This can be distracting, and the physical stimulation can lend itself to relaxation. The touch is also grounding.
- Try to get them to take deep breaths and focus on the exhale. A deep exhale will automatically relax the ribs and shoulders and release endorphins and gets them more oxygen, which can help with cognition.