One sad aspect of life is that we never stop aging – it’s just impossible. Aging has its few noteworthy benefits but it also has a couple of downsides, one is dementia and its related diseases such as the infamous Alzheimer’s.
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There is nothing more painful than seeing our grandparents slowly forget us and the things they love. However, it shouldn’t be a sign to abandon all hope. It should encourage us to do more with the little time they may have left. This is why communication is extremely important. Here are a few tips on how to communicate better with them.
How to Properly Communicate With Your Grandparents with Dementia
First of all, let me just say that before even trying to communicate with your grandparents or parents who are diagnosed with dementia symptoms, you have to learn one simple thing – acceptance. Dementia in its other forms like Alzheimer’s is incurable. I know it’s one of the most painful and devastating things to accept in life. But you will need to in order for you to be truly patient.
There will be times that the bad days will become worse – from manageable to nearly impossible. You have to accept that this certain disease will progress. Being in denial will result in two things, you’ll become easily annoyed and you’ll have a hard time communicating. In the end, you’ll regret instead of hugging your grandparents or parents, you act mad because they can’t understand you. Trust me. You don’t want this to happen. So by all means, learning acceptance is the first key to overcoming this challenge in life.
- Use names and be specific instead of pronouns. The thing about dementia is that it makes people extremely forgetful and confused. Whenever you use pronouns, they’re going to think about random people as they can’t comprehend who you’re actually talking about. So make use of using names and specific details about them as much as you can. Instead of saying “mom used to hug you a lot,” try saying “Janet, your daughter, used to hug you a lot when Janet was 6 years old, right?” It can be very inconvenient, but you’re actually helping her recall!
- Avoid any distractions by all means possible. If there is anything you’d like to say to your grandfather or grandmother, say it in a room where there’s nothing else to take their attention from you. They’re likely to be distracted by even the faintest movement.
- Speak one sentence at a time. Don’t tell stories if you want to communicate. Give him/her time to absorb one sentence at a time and wait for her to say something back – even a gesture is a go signal. If you’re going to have a monolog, the result will simply be disappointing as they won’t be able to understand you.
- Never force it. I know there are times when it seems no matter how hard you try, you’re not making sense to them or vice versa. Don’t force it. Walk away if you think you’re getting mad; avoid scolding or arguing as you could actually make things worse. If at all possible, give them a hug and a kiss and wait for an hour to try again – even a day or a week if necessary. The only way communication works is to be patient and understanding.
More about Dementia and Alzheimer’s
According to Healthline, Dementia is a syndrome, not a disease. Dementia is a group of symptoms that affects mental cognitive tasks such as memory and reasoning. Dementia is an umbrella term that Alzheimer’s disease can fall under.