How to Interact with People Suffering from Dementia
Dementia is a difficult disease to deal with, and it can be very isolating for those who suffer from it as their interaction with the outside world becomes increasingly confusing and frustrating. It would deter a lot of people from venturing out and living their lives to the fullest.
To ensure the life quality for people with dementia will not be compromised by their condition, educating the public to understanding the disorder itself and how to interact with people with dementia is an important stepping stone to building a dementia-friendly society.
The following includes some valuable tips on how to interact with people with dementia with references from Family Caregiver Alliance (FCA).
1. State your Message Clearly. Use simple words and sentences. Speak slowly and clearly. People with dementia are sensitive to environmental changes around them, so refrain from raising your voice. Repetition is often necessary and patience is key.
2. Keep the Questions Simple. Ask one question at a time; try to stick to yes and no questions, and avoid overwhelming them with too many options.
3. Break down activities into a series of steps. Guide the person you are engaging with one step at a time to finish the task. You can assist whenever necessary to move through each process. Using visual cues, such as showing them with your hand where to place an item can be helpful.
4. Take a Walk Down Memory Lane. A common symptom for People with Dementia is that they suffer from short term memory loss. Their long term memory though, is often times much better, and a conversation of the past can be both encouraging and reassuring. It is a good way to engage with them without posing questions that would rely on short-term memory.
5. Stay Flexible
The behaviors and conditions of people with dementia is influenced by multiple factors, and depending on their circumstances, the same methods might not be effective a second time. It is important to stay creative and deal with each problem according the present condition.