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…
Something as simple as going to my high school reunion is close to impossible…
My life is getting extremely difficult, I am just totally burned out, and this care taker job is not for the faint of heart. To find someone to sit or be with my husband is so hard it’s like pulling teeth.
My 40th high school reunion (boy am I old!) took place last weekend. I wanted to go but I had to piece together people to take care of my husband and I only was able to go for a few hours.
I was so angry when his brother told me he would take him to church but then pawned it off on his sister who is already telling me she cannot help because she is too old, not feeling good etc.… You think it she said it.
From 4 in the afternoon until 8:30 he was with 3 people – all in his family but who really seem reluctant to help in any way. I feel I forced it on them – I wouldn’t take no for an answer. You would think that someone would just help take care of him for that many hours.
The actual festivities started on a Friday and ended Sunday afternoon. I was only able to go for the dinner on Saturday afternoon.
The reunion was really fun – I took my brother, and the best part was a tall handsome man came up to me (I didn’t recognize him or remember him) and said you are so pretty Pamela, can I give you a hug.
Of course – I said, and then he proceeded to tell me how he was totally enamored with me in high school and thought I was so pretty. He was too insecure to ask me out. He was my secret admirer. We chatted for a while and then I had to leave.
I couldn’t help but entertain the thought – if he did ask me out my life may have been completely different. I had so many struggles with the choices I made as a teenager, and my life was not easy…
I left the reunion feeling pretty good about myself – but wondering how my life may have been different.
I am speeding towards a head on collision and I cannot stop it. The impact is going to be earth shattering.
I feel so overwhelmed most of the time I am so sad about this, I just want to dig in my heels and say “NO NO NO” I am not going on this journey. I’m not doing it!
My husband is regressing and is having problems with most everything. Direction, movement, thought process and bathroom issues. I get him up put on his clothes and shoes for him. I point him to which room he wants to go because he gets confused. I shave him – I actually like it I feel closer to him.
I waver from being resigned and trying to do the best I can to totally stressing out and wanting to shut down. My sister is helping me without her I would not know what to do. Home health is between 19.00 and 23.00 an hour who has that type of money?
As stressed as I am financially – emotionally I am drained just the thought of being without my husband makes me want to fall to the ground. I am paying my sister $10.00 an hour. It adds up to a minimum of 800.00 a month, and I am only working part time. I am basically trading my pay check for my husbands care – but I still have the great insurance that is giving us the best neurologists available.
There is always a silver lining (I think…)