Things We Are Doing Wrong With Dementia Patients

Mature Woman Suffering From Memory Loss

Dementia is primarily an age-related problem that causes people, who are mostly 60 or above, to lose their memory thus making it increasingly hard for them to keep track of life events and day-to-day activities. It is a brain disorder and the struggle to remember things leads to other related problems such as mood swings and personality changes.

People with dementia usually end up getting cranky or moody. Caring for dementia patients is challenging and sometimes very complicated too. There are many do’s and don’ts to it which must be followed to make the process easier.

Mentioned ahead are some of the things that most caregivers do wrong when it comes to caring for patients.

Being Insensitive

We shouldn’t ever set a negative mode for interaction. Very often, family members begin to find the patient annoying because of how much effort and time they require in their special treatment. This leads to temporary feelings of annoyance in the people living with the patient and they, unconsciously, start conversing with them in an unpleasant way. This includes less physical touch and shortened sentences.

It may also include a plain tone of voice, an absence of hand gestures and a lack of facial expressions. This affects the patient negatively as our actions and gestures communicate a lot more than our words.

When a patient is going through the different stages of dementia, especially from a mild dementia to a moderate one, he starts losing his communicative skills. This goes both ways; they will not only find it hard to communicate their own thoughts but will also struggle with understanding what you are trying to say to them. Therefore, be compassionate and show them that you understand what they are going through and that you care about their well-being.

Not Being Careful About External Noise Disturbances

In this highly industrialized and modernized society, we barely get two seconds of silence. But here’s the problem: patients with dementia dislike noise. To have a peaceful and successful conversation with them, you must cut off all sources of noise and intense light.

This is an important step to keep in mind that we often forget. The television is almost always on, the curtains are always open and there is always some source of distraction in the background that can be a potential source of frustration or irritation for the patient. Be sure to eliminate these sources, sit with them and talk in a loving and affectionate manner. Use non-verbal cues such as hand gestures, touching them on the shoulder etc. when communicating and making eye contact – all of this will help you get their attention and allow you to keep it.

Making Them Exert Unnecessary Pressure on Their Brain

We are used to asking open ended questions. This is something that we do unconsciously. However, for people with dementia, this is a grave concern. There are two things that they are not particularly fond of: open ended questions and questions that offer a wide range of choices.

Hence, keep your questions short and simple with easy vocabulary and give them limited choices. For instance, hold two pairs of socks and ask which of these they’d like to wear instead of just asking which ones they’d like to wear out of their closet full of garments. This is because non-verbal cues, as mentioned above, are always better than verbal ones.

Dementia is a complex condition in terms of both its causes and its treatment. It requires special care as it only worsens with time. Caring for dementia patients is a lot of responsibility, and the process can be very challenging at times.  We should remain mindful of the things that aggravate the symptoms and try to eliminate irritants from the environment of the patient as much as we can.

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About Audrey Throne

Audrey Throne is a mother of a 2-year old and a professional blogger by choice. Throne is passionate about health, technology and management and blogs frequently on these topics.

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