10 July 2019
In her most recent blog, our guest blogger Beth Britton explores ways to positively communicate with a person who is living with dementia
One of the areas of dementia care and support that families and professionals alike often struggle with is communication. Frequently individuals will say that they aren’t sure how to communicate with a person who has dementia, and if this isn’t addressed it can lead to a breakdown in communication that affects the independence, choice and control of the person with dementia.
Historically as a society we’ve placed a huge emphasis on clear and concise dialogue, so when a person with dementia can no longer hold conversations like that, those trying to communicate with them may make assumptions about what the person is trying to communicate and what they are thinking or feeling.
To avoid this, it is vital to find ways to positively communicate, and the first step towards doing that is to appreciate that speech is only one form of communication; expressions, body language, behaviours, actions and reactions can tell us a huge amount without a single word being uttered if we are observing the person well and responding to those observations appropriately.
Alternatives to verbal communication are numerous, and include using pictures or supporting the person to draw or paint what they are trying to communicate. Also consider writing – As Tommy says in his Dementia Diary, “Writing is therapy for me. It frees my mind. I can express my feelings in the written word without getting emotional.”
Music is another fantastic way to communicate, as I wrote about in my first blog for Promedica24, “Often when a person with dementia can no longer hold a conversation, they can still sing a song or tap out a tune.”
However, you are trying to communicate with a person who has dementia, think about the following:
About the author:
Beth Britton is a leading campaigner, consultant, writer and blogger whose father had vascular dementia for 19 years. Beth is also a Skills for Care Endorsed Training Provider. More information on Beth’s website: https://www.bethbritton.com
To find out more about Promedica24:
You can call 0800 086 8686 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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