Dementia care poses numerous difficult challenges for caregivers, families, and, most especially, patients. Dementia is a progressive brain disease which make it extremely difficult for individuals to communicate, think clearly, recall things or events, and care for themselves. It can also cause violent and severe mood swings and, in some cases, completely change patients’ personalities. Two of the most common oppositions of Dementia care are communication and behavior issues.

Communication with Dementia Patients

One of the most important elements of Dementia care is a positive attitude. It is essential to treat elders with dignity and respect. Never make them feel belittled or chastised. This will only result in negative and, in some cases, violent behavior. Always be conscious of both communication tone and facial expressions. This speaks volumes much louder than actual words.

Reduce noise and distractions during communication by turning off the television or radio. Dementia patients need calm and quite surroundings in order to provide their focused attention. It is always best to address them by name and perhaps place a gentle hand on their shoulder. Be sure to make full eye contact and speak in pleasant tones.

It may be necessary to repeat statements and questions several times before individuals understand. In these cases use the same gentle and kind tones. Try to only ask simple questions which require no or yes answers. If situations escalate or elders seem to be losing their tempers, do not react in a like manner. Remember to remain patient and it may be best to discontinue the conversation until everything is calm again. This may be a good time to go for a stroll or prepare a snack and change the environment.

It is not a good idea to always correct elders when they are wrong. If there is no clear and present danger, it may be a better idea to direct the subject toward elements that they comprehend. Be sure to reassure, comfort, and support them, especially if they become scared or confused. This may be a good time to demonstrate emotional support by touching their cheek, holding their hand, or giving them a hug.

Encourage elders by allowing them to remember and speak of the past. This activity is both affirming and soothing. Generally those with Dementia have an extremely difficult time remembering an event from an hour ago; however, an event that took place 30 years ago may be crystal clear.

Behavioral Issues

It is often difficult learning about and coping with the behavioral issues of Dementia patients. It is vital to meet these issues with compassion, patience, and flexibility as well as a positive attitude and a good sense of humor. In most cases, the worst thing which can be done is trying to control the person or situation completely. It is best to accommodate them as long as there is no actual danger of doing so. If these occurrences become extremely troublesome or dangerous, it may be time to consult a medical professional. There may be a more serious underlying cause.

Try to be vigilant and observe which situations or event trigger negative behavior. It may be possible to change the reaction by disrupting the trigger pattern. Perhaps a different consequence or approach may be better. Another very important element of Dementia care is self-care. Caregivers are often drained and tired. It is important to seek out support and help whenever it is necessary. Even caregivers need a break from time to time.