- Focus on non-verbal cues: Body language, facial expressions and other bodily signals are oftentimes easier to read than spoken language. Pay attention to the body language you put forward. Focus on the person’s cues to understand better how they’re feeling.
- Set up the environment: A successful conversation is dependent on the right setting. Eliminate background noise or sights. Turn off the TV or radio and put away cell phones. Maintain good eye contact and an appropriate talking distance.
- Practice patience: Give your loved one extra time to process what you are saying. Don’t rush into a new topic of conversation, as this can cause confusion. Even if you don’t understand what they are saying, don’t be condescending or use harsh emotions. Let delusions and misstatements go.
- Each day is a new day: The general trend of dementia sufferers is a downward decline, but like everyone, they will have ups and downs. Just because one day they’re more fluid and expressive doesn’t mean the next day will be the same. Having an overall understanding of the challenges helps you accept and prepare for the wavering nature of the disease.
- Be encouraging: Always responding, no matter what, shows the person that they’ve been heard. If you find a topic they are more communicative about, take it a step further by asking them to tell you more.
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