Are You Using Nonverbal Cues to Talk to a Senior with Dementia?

Dementia changes how your senior’s brain functions, and that can mean that how she communicates and understands communication changes. Making some small changes in how you communicate with her, like with nonverbal cues, can help you to communicate effectively with her despite her dementia. Here are some ideas that can help you as a caregiver of a loved one with dementia.

Why Should You Use Nonverbal Cues?

Caregiver Columbia TN - Are You Using Nonverbal Cues to Talk to a Senior with Dementia?
Caregiver Columbia TN – Are You Using Nonverbal Cues to Talk to a Senior with Dementia?

As dementia progresses, the types of communication you’ve used with your senior in the past may become less effective. Different parts of your senior’s brain are functioning differently, so the ways that you communicate with her need to change. Using nonverbal cues can help your elderly family member to understand what you are trying to convey more fully.

Some Cues You Use without Thinking

You already use nonverbal communication all the time with everyone you encounter, but you might not think about it as such. Things like eye contact, gestures you use while talking, and even your facial expressions are all forms of nonverbal cues. If your nonverbal cues don’t match up with what you’re saying, that can be very confusing for your senior.

Others Are More Deliberate

There are some other forms of nonverbal communication that you might want to become more deliberate about with your senior. These might include gently touching her to make sure that you’ve got her attention and making sure that your tone of voice matches what you’re trying to tell her. Pointing yourself toward her when you’re talking to her can also help her to understand. If you’re referring to an object or something specific, point to it if you can.

This Might Take Some Practice

This type of communicating is just different enough from your normal style of communication that it might feel odd or uncomfortable at first. As you use this style of communication with your senior more often, it can become a lot easier to use without having to think about it. You may also find that hiring a caregiver who has experience working with dementia patients can be helpful. They can share with you what has worked for them in the past.

Nonverbal communication tools are just one more way to help your senior to understand what is happening around her. Dementia can be confusing and can make your senior feel cut off from the rest of the world, so finding ways to reach out to her is important for her and for you.

If you or an aging loved-one are considering Caregiver Services in Columbia TN, please contact the caring staff at Touching Hearts at Home. Serving Middle Tennessee (Nashville, Brentwood, Belle Meade, Franklin, Spring Hill, Columbia, Pulaski, and more!) Call today: 629-203-7925.

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