Taking part in Dementia Action Week is a great way to take action to improve the lives of those affected by dementia, which is why we are delighted to support this annual campaign. This year’s theme is ‘start a conversation’ with someone living with dementia, whether that is calling a relative or visiting a neighbour. With this in mind, here are some top tips on how to engage in conversation with someone who has dementia:
Be friendly and approachable – it is important not to be condescending and to make sure your body language is open and relaxed, so the other person feels at ease.
Be patient – a person with dementia may take longer to communicate than usual and it could take longer for them to process what you say.
Look and listen – if you are not entirely sure what the person is telling you, politely let them know. Also, look at their facial expressions, movements and gestures, as they might be trying to give clues as to how they are feeling in other ways.
Be straight forward – try not to complicate the conversation by talking about too many different things at the same time. It is best to communicate with the person in a conversational way, rather than asking question after question.
Avoid distractions – try and find a place, where you can create a comfortable ambiance that doesn’t have a lot of distractions, so the person you are speaking to can focus all of their mental energy on you.
Ultimately, there are many factors which affect how a person with dementia feels and experiences conversations. If you would like to widen your knowledge of dementia, we provide various training sessions, which can help:
Mind the Gap is an insightful programme that covers various topics including, wellness and behaviour, the positive impact communication can have on a person with dementia, and the strategies which can be used to ensure they feel positive and comfortable at all times. All staff at Encore take part in this mandatory training, but it also offered for free to the relatives of Encore’s residents.
The Dementia Champions Training was first introduced in October 2018 and is a fully immersive experience that transports participants into the world of someone living with dementia. This training opportunity is available to relatives of residents under our care, as well as local health professionals, who want to expand their knowledge.