6 Communication Mistakes to Avoid with Someone Who Has Dementia

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Things You Shouldn't Say to a Person with Dementia in Naples, FL

If you’re like most people caring for senior parents with dementia, you’ve taken on the role with little or no training. You may not know what’s acceptable to say to your loved one, but it’s crucial to find out. Some words and phrases can escalate bad behavior or cause mental health problems for seniors with the condition. Here are some things to avoid saying to a loved one with dementia.

1. Avoid Correcting Your Loved One

Pointing out your parent’s errors could be embarrassing and unpleasant for your loved one. Your main objective is to be kind instead of right. For example, if your loved one misplaces an item and accuses you of taking it, help him or her find the object and develop a plan to prevent him or her from losing it in the future.

Caring for a senior loved one can be challenging for families who don’t have expertise or professional training in home care, but this challenge doesn’t have to be faced alone. Family caregivers can turn to Naples Home Care Assistance for the help they need. We provide high-quality live-in and respite care as well as comprehensive Alzheimer’s, dementia, stroke, and Parkinson’s care.

2. Don’t Place Blame

Seniors with dementia experience mental and emotional distress, especially when they’re unable to take on familiar tasks or remember their loved ones. When you blame your parent for things that happen, it could cause more stress and guilt. Remember your loved one cannot control the condition, and many of his or her actions are due to the effects of dementia.

3. Abstain from Saying “Remember When”

Prodding adults with dementia to remember events and people from the past can be frustrating and lead to combative behavior. When you want to trigger your loved one’s memories, use positive methods, such as watching old television shows, going through family photo albums, or doing research on a specific era.

A professional caregiver can provide regular cognitive stimulation that may slow the progress of your loved one’s dementia. Families looking for top-rated elder care providers can reach out to Home Care Assistance. From respite care to specialized Alzheimer’s, dementia, stroke, and Parkinson’s care, there are many ways we can make life easier for seniors and their loved ones.

4. Don’t Discuss Your Loved One with Other People

Living with dementia doesn’t take away a person’s dignity, so you should always treat your loved one with respect. When discussing the condition with others, don’t have these conversations when he or she is present. Although the condition could prevent your parent from comprehending some things, there will be moments when he or she can follow the discussion in its entirety. Therefore, you should never discuss your loved one with other people. Doing so could harm his or her self-esteem and increase the odds of depression.

5. Refrain from Saying “Stop”

When you want your loved one to stop asking the same question or repeating an action, the best choice is to distract your parent and redirect his or her attention. You can change your loved one’s focus by asking another question or suggesting a fun activity. If you say the word “stop,” it could upset your parent and cause him or her to lash out.

6. Never Refer to Your Loved One as a Victim

Good caregivers encourage their loved ones to remain strong and as independent as possible. At no point should you refer to your parent with dementia as a victim. You may not mean any harm by using the word, but it can be perceived as offensive. Instead of using this negative description, refer to your parent by his or her name or as a loved one living with dementia. 

Even when families have the best intentions, caring for a senior loved one with dementia can be challenging. Fortunately, Home Care Assistance is here to help. We are a leading provider of dementia care. Naples families can take advantage of our flexible and customizable care plans, and our caregivers always stay up to date on the latest developments in senior care. If your loved one needs help with the challenges of aging, call one of our compassionate Care Managers today at (239) 449-4701.

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