Saturday, September 12, 2020

10 Communication tips for positive interaction with an Alzheimer's & Dementia Individuals

When communicating with a person with Alzheimer's or Dementia it is essential to do it in a manner that, is respectful, dignified and that you acknowledge the individual as just that an individual with their own needs. What does that mean? well, that not everybody responds the same way, even if we are not affected with memory problems. Always have an inviting soothing tone of voice, don't lose your composure if the situation gets to be challenging, you have to master the art of de-escalating situations. Be proactive in avoiding the pitfalls of things going awry. As I always say take preventive measures for an easy peasy day. Be flexible, if things don't work out the first time you present the idea, you may want to wait 20 to 30 minutes and revisit the issue again with a change in strategy. Get to know how the individual operates, what the likes and dislikes are.

The other day I walked into our MC unit, and one of my ladies saw me and said, "hon, I need to talk to you, something is not right" I was in the middle of a task that I needed to complete quickly. I held the ladies' hand looked her in the eyes, and went on to tell her that right at that moment I couldn't help her, but as soon as I finished I would come back immediately. I offered her coffee while she waited for my return, to which she agreed. When I returned 20 minutes later, she was there waiting for me, she was still worried, I took her hand and said to her, "let's go for a walk and you can tell me what is bothering you, and maybe we can figure out how to fix it" her reply, "ok, hon, I honestly don't know how this is going to go" I like to build a relationship of trust with all of my patients, well with everyone, is one of those core morals that are non-negotiable for most human beings. 

The combination of acknowledging her needs at the time that she first approached me, my tone of voice, holding her hand, and offering her a cup of coffee, which I know is what calms her down. All worked in my favor for her to wait for me until I was ready to return and help her out. She trusts me enough to know that I would come back.

I leave you with a Dementia communication guide beautifully put together by a Bridge Between the Gap. I was going to make one up, then I came across this one, I couldn't possibly make a better one, this one is exactly how I would have presented it.

We are on this bumpy road together, you are not alone!
Be Prepared, Be Informed, Be Empowered.
I send you beams of virtual good vibes.