How to approach someone with dementia
Dementia has many forms, but in all of them, it can be difficult to communicate with the person suffering from it.
You are bound to run into someone with dementia, whether you work in healthcare or social services or are related to someone who does, so it is important to learn how to approach someone with dementia with the utmost respect and kindness. Here are the some ways which tell how to approach someone with dementia.
1- Who is the individual
The individual is someone who has been diagnosed with dementia. This person may be experiencing memory loss, confusion, and changes in mood and behavior.
It is important to approach this person with empathy and understanding.
When speaking to the individual, ask them questions that are easy for them to answer like, What is your name or What day is it.
Do not make assumptions about what they know or do not know because people with dementia experience different levels of cognitive impairment. If the person does not respond well to you, back off and try again later on.
If you have successfully established a connection with the person, continue talking to them as long as they seem interested.
Remember to ask yes no questions, give affirmations and validation when appropriate (e.g., I see.), use first names or pet names if desired, and allow the conversation to flow naturally by changing topics often.
2- Why are you approaching them
The most important question to consider before approaching someone with dementia is why you are doing so.
Are you a friend or family member looking to reconnect. Are you a medical professional checking in on a patient The answer to this question will help determine how you approach the person and what you say.
If you are meeting them for the first time, be sure to introduce yourself, tell them your name, and shake their hand.
If they ask who you are, reply with I am (your name). If they don’t know your name, feel free to tell them it doesn’t matter.
You can also ask if there is something that matters to them right now if not, offer some small talk such as What did you do today, How was your day, or Who do you live with.
3- Where will you encounter them
You might encounter someone with dementia in a number of places at the grocery store, out for a walk, at a friend’s house.
It is important to be aware of your surroundings and who might be around you that needs assistance.
When will you approach them (three sentences) The best time to approach someone with dementia is when they are not in the middle of an activity and are not feeling overwhelmed or stressed.
If possible, try to catch them when they are alone so you can have their full attention.
Who will you be approaching (two sentences) When approaching someone with dementia, it is important to remember that they are still a person just like you and deserve to be treated with respect.
4- When will you approach them
The best time to approach someone with dementia is when they are in a good mood and well-rested.
You should also avoid approaching them during mealtimes or when they are engaging in another activity.
What will you say before you talk to the person, it is important that you have a plan for what you want to say and what their responses might be.
Who will you be talking to When communicating with someone who has dementia, it is important not to make assumptions about how much they understand what you are saying.
What will happen if they don’t understand If the person does not seem able to understand what is being said, it may be helpful for the caregiver or loved one talking with them make use of simpler words, facial expressions, gestures and simple sentences.
5- How will you introduce yourself
1. First, introduce yourself by name and relationship. For example, Hi, I am Jess and I am your daughter.
2. If the person is comfortable with physical contact, you might want to offer a hug or gentle touch on the arm or shoulder.
3. Speak slowly and clearly, using short sentences.
4. Ask questions that can be answered with a yes or no response, whenever possible.
5. Repeat back what you think the person has said to ensure you understand.
6. Be patient and avoid arguing or correcting the person.
7. Most importantly, show that you care and are there to support them.
How to approach someone with dementia? Now we have got some idea about this question. When approaching someone with dementia, it is important to be respectful, patient, and understanding. This person is likely experiencing a great deal of confusion and may be feeling scared or lost.
It is best to approach them slowly and calmly, using short sentences and avoiding anything that could startle or upset them.
If you take the time to get to know them and build a rapport, you can help make their experience with dementia more bearable.