Watching as dementia takes over a senior loved one’s mind can be difficult. While you may long for the days when your loved one could easily respond to your words, you can still rest assured he or she may understand more than he or she lets on. The current belief is that seniors with dementia absolutely can understand others, and they often have periods of lucidity that allow them to maintain connections with the people they love. Although your loved one’s level of comprehension may vary from one moment to the next, you can use these methods to increase his or her understanding of what you say.
Watch for Signs of Alertness
Over time, you’ll notice when your loved one seems capable of understanding more than he or she usually does. Your loved one may show he or she is alert by looking around the room, making eye contact with you, reaching for your hand, or sitting up higher in a seat. These are all signs that indicate you might want to try to talk while your loved one seems ready to focus.
If your senior loved one has been diagnosed with a serious condition and needs help with tasks like meal prep, transportation, bathing, and grooming, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of at-home care families can trust. We also offer comprehensive care for seniors with dementia, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s.
Speak Clearly and Naturally
Your loved one may need you to use simpler words and sentences, but he or she doesn’t need you to use baby talk. Using baby talk can only add to the confusion, and it’s possible your loved one will pick up on the singsong language and feel belittled. Instead, speak clearly and in a natural voice your loved one recognizes. If your parent uses a hearing device, make sure he or she has it on.
Allow Time to Respond
Communication with a senior who has dementia should never be rushed. Your loved one may need a little more time to comprehend what you’re saying before giving a response. Leave enough time for your parent to say something before you ask a question again. If there’s a long pause, you could ask your loved one to nod his or her head if he or she understands.
Caring for a senior loved one can be challenging for families who don’t have expertise or professional training in home care, but this challenge doesn’t have to be faced alone. Family caregivers can turn to Mesa Home Care Assistance for the help they need. We provide high-quality live-in and respite care as well as comprehensive Alzheimer’s, dementia, stroke, and Parkinson’s care.
Practice Active Listening
During times when your loved one understands what you say, he or she may attempt to answer. Take the time to listen to what he or she is trying to say. If you don’t understand, ask your loved one to try again. You can also repeat what you think he or she is trying to say to see if you understood.
Use Nonverbal Communication
The power of human touch can reach people in ways words rarely can. Your loved one may not always be able to understand your verbal words of reassurance, but he or she can easily feel the message behind a gentle touch on the arm. Take time out from your busy day to hold your loved one’s hand or give him or her a kiss on the cheek. Your loved one will feel your love through the warmth of your touch, and many seniors with dementia show signs that these types of touches stimulate positive emotions.
If you’re looking for reliable dementia care, Mesa Home Care Assistance offers high-quality at-home care for seniors who are managing the challenges of cognitive decline. We offer a revolutionary program called the Cognitive Therapeutics Method (CTM), which uses mentally stimulating activities to boost cognitive health in the elderly. CTM has proven to help seniors with dementia regain a sense of pride and accomplishment and learn how to engage with others in an enjoyable way. If you need compassionate, professional home care for your loved one, call one of our friendly Care Managers today at (480) 699-4899.