Communicating with someone who has dementia is not easy – I have learned a lot this last week.
My husband, brother and I went to my social worker last week. I just love Theresa;
she is so knowledgeable and precisely knows how to talk with my husband.
She gave us some tips on communicating with people who have dementia. I have learned a lot from the hand-out she supplied us. . I have watched my husband’s family when we are around and they act like my husband is not even in the room – so upsetting. Talk about him and around him like he is invisible
People who are suffering from this illness need validation – it is so important that you are listening and understand. It can decrease the intensity of the conflicts and is good for your relationship.
How to validate:
- Make eye contact with them, actively listen – nod your head when they talk to you.
- State their feelings descriptively without passing judgement “ it looks like your upset” or “you have a sad look on your face”
- Respond in a way that takes them seriously – if they want to be alone for a little while say “OK,” walk away and let them calm down, if they are crying, give them a tissue, etc.
- Show tolerance and patience: Their behavior makes sense to them given his or her life circumstances, even if you do not approve of the behavior itself.
The next post will be about the six levels of validation. I hope this help you in coping with anyone in your life who does have dementia…