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15 dicas de comunicação - DEMÊNCIA

15 communication tips - DEMENTIA

Talking to someone who has Alzheimer's or dementia can be challenging. Learning some simple but effective techniques for communicating with those with dementia makes it easier to connect with your family members and enjoy meaningful moments together.

Living with dementia can be difficult.

Conversations can be filled with emotions such as sadness, anger or fear.

Unfortunately, when we add these emotions, it can be more difficult to talk to your loved one than necessary.

Instead, try these 15 helpful tips to keep in mind when communicating with someone who has dementia.

1. Take a moment for yourself

It can be challenging to live with someone with dementia. We can feel a wide variety of emotions that can influence our own behavior.

Take a minute to calm down and be present before starting a conversation.

No matter how advanced the dementia is, the person you love is still there - and they care about you too.

2. Stay positive and calm

Someone with dementia notices their emotions , especially if they don't match the tone we are trying to use.

3. Remove distractions

Like anyone, someone with dementia may have difficulty communicating when there are distractions around.

Televisions, radios and running children can easily catch our attention. What may be minimally disturbing for us, can, however, be torture for people with dementia.

To minimize these distractions , make sure all electronic equipment is turned off or on silent. Ask others to leave the area or maintain quiet activities.

4. Identify yourself

When someone has dementia, they may not immediately remember who you are.

Make sure you gently indicate your name and how you relate to each other. This can help bring back memories as well as help them feel safe.

If the family member seems especially confused, introducing another person, such as a haitual caregiver , may help them feel more comfortable.

5. Speak slowly

Take time to slow down when speaking. It can help to give them time to absorb what you are saying and make connections.

6. Use shorter sentences and smaller words

Run-on sentences and big words can be confusing. Try to avoid this if you can.

Use one sentence at a time , pausing to allow the family member to respond before continuing. The amount of time you need to take a break can change from day to day.

7. Be direct

To avoid causing confusion, say exactly what you mean.

If you are referring to an object or another person, use their name instead of pronouns.

And, when talking about a person, say what their relationship is with yourself and your family member.

8. Don't make assumptions

It can be tempting to finish someone's sentence or even assume that they don't want to participate in a social activity.

Avoid doing this as much as possible. Your family member deserves to have a say in the activities they participate in, as well as knowing that you are by their side.

Interrupting or deleting sends a message that you don't believe they are capable of conversation or socialization.

9 . Practice active listening

Active listening is a form of communication that lets the other party know that you are listening. Nodding your head and responding in a valid way helps people feel like you want to hear more.

That said, some active listening behaviors can be more distracting than helpful for some people or in some situations.

For example, using little words of encouragement like “uh-huh” can do more harm than good.

Take some time to experiment and evaluate what works best. If your family member receives care services, consider asking the caregiver's opinion as well.

10. Don't block the conversation

It's normal to have limits on what you will and won't discuss. However, there are some obstacles to conversation that you should avoid.

Avoid asking “Why…” or forcing your family member to talk about something when they don’t feel like doing it. This tends to interrupt productive conversations.

Most importantly, resist the urge to interrupt. The conversation flow will be interrupted. Focus on listening instead of speaking.

11. Redirect

Instead of trying to stop someone from doing something potentially dangerous, work to redirect them to a safer or more positive activity.

12. Choose between two things or ask yes or no questions

It's much easier to communicate when you can choose between two different things.

Instead of asking someone what they want to eat for lunch, make suggestions. For example, you might ask "Do you want fish or meat for lunch?"

This allows your family member to focus on choosing between two clear options, rather than having too many ideas and becoming confused.

Asking yes or no questions works in a similar way. Instead of asking someone what they want to drink, ask "Would you like some water?"

13. Remember that body language sends a message

Making eye contact can help your loved one know that you are listening. Try to match your body language with the emotion you want to express.

14. Consider non-verbal forms of communication, such as writing

It's important to find communication techniques that work best for you and them. Depending on how your family member feels, verbal communication may not be their first choice.

Some people respond better when writing a note (or even an email) than by talking.

Writing gives them more time and can also help them catch mistakes, like choosing an incorrect word. This can help someone feel more comfortable interacting with others.

Remember to use your other senses too. Sight, sound, smell, taste and touch can be vital in communication.

15. Most importantly, be present

Most of what matters when visiting and spending time with someone with dementia is just that – time together.

Getting support services can also help make your time together more enjoyable, especially if managing daily tasks becomes a chore.

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