The more dementia progresses, the more difficult conversation becomes. While feeling disheartened is normal, don’t give up! Here are helpful tips that might improve the relationship:
- Introduce yourself. It may feel awkward but you can no longer assume that your Dad remembers who you are. (i.e. "Hi Dad. It's your daughter Sarah.)"
- Be calm and gentle. You set the mood.
- Use humour.
- Use visual cues for directions (e.g. pointing in the desired location or patting the appropriate chair).
- Go at her pace. People with dementia need more time to respond.
- Give instructions one at a time.
- Use pampering (hand massage, manicure, comb her hair).
- Remember he responds to you and your body language.
- Be flexible and respond to his mood changes.
- If he repeats the same question, answer like the first time.
- Wait for a response.
- Be accepting of inappropriate answers and nonsense words.
- Be aware of your body language. Use it to communicate relaxation and reassurance.
- Try not to argue.
- Do not ask your loved one to reason or problem-solve.
- Do not ask “don’t you remember?” This can cause agitation.
- Do not correct his ideas or scold him.
- If your husband experiences a hallucination or delusion, it is best not to re-orientate them, unless it causes harm. For example, your husband tells you that his mother is coming to visit tomorrow. Don’t explain she has long passed; instead distract with a new topic of conversation.
Last Updated: 03/18/16
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