Dementia is a terrible disorder to go through for both the person with dementia and for the family members and friends of the patient. The loss of dignity and self-worth can be trying and simple communication with the person might become too hard to bear as the disease progresses. As the healthy person, the weight of communication lies upon your shoulders and you must be sensitive to the situation of the dementia.
It won’t be easy.
This person is most likely someone you’ve looked up to and respected your entire life and now they’ve been stricken with a debilitating illness. Here is a list of things you will want to consider when communicating with this person.
- They are still your loved one. While their mental capabilities have changed, they are still the loved one you knew all of your life. They may forget things or get angry and frustrated, but they are still aware to some degree of what is going on around them.
- Be Respectful. Call your loved one by their name or what you have always called them. Make sure other people who talk to them call them by their name and/or nickname that they’ve always used. The familiarity of that name goes a long way in helping.
- Take Their Privacy into Consideration. When you get sick, a lot of the private things we take for granted are no longer available to the person with dementia. Going to the bathroom, bathing, dressing…all of these things may require assistance and with that can cause shame and depression in our loved one.
- Do Not Talk Down To Them. Talk simply. Talk politely. Talk to them. The person with dementia still has their conscious mind. Do not talk “about” them as if they weren’t in the room with you. They are aware. They just cannot remember everything clearly.
It all comes down to a matter of respect and showing your loved one the proper amount of dignity that they deserve. This is the same person that you care about. Treat them with love and the care they have shown throughout their lifetime.
If you have questions about relating to a person with dementia, please feel free to contact our office at the Kabb Law firm at: 216.991.KABB (5222).