Dementia covers a group of symptoms such as memory problems, decreasing ability to think or reason and difficulty communicating.
People with Dementia often find it hard to let you know how they feel. They often become confused, anxious and sometimes frightened. Finding it hard to recognise people. However, feelings remain and visits can stimulate warm feelings and be comforting.
Here are some things you can do to help when you visit someone with Dementia
- Wear something bright and colourful and approach them from the front, don’t be tempted to tap them on the shoulder or approach them from behind.
- Introduce yourself with an explanation of who you are
- Smile and make eye contact, sitting down next to them at their level
- Touch their hand or arm gently if appropriate
- Make sure you speak simply, one comment at a time
- Listen and give them time to answer or comment. Be patient.
- It is important to be positive and reassuring.
- Try to avoid questions or choices, try ‘A cup of tea?’ (not, tea or coffee?) Be Patient.
- Accept incorrect statements as they may be caused by memory loss or faulty logic. Acknowledge the emotions behind the words.
I find these tips very helpful. They were based on work undertaken by Dr. Jennifer Bute a retired GP who is living with early onset Alzheimer’s Dementia.