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Posts Tagged ‘first time caregivers’

Diagnosing Alzheimer’s: What Not to Do

alzheimer'sAlzheimer’s is about as scary as they come, but it’s important not to jump to any conclusions if you think you or a loved one might be afflicted with it. If you know you have a history of Alzheimer’s in your family, then you should absolutely be on the lookout for it, but tread carefully. Here are some things you should avoid doing when it comes to diagnosing Alzheimer’s.

Playing Doctor

As tempting as it might be to think we have all the answers with the internet just a click away, it’s important to remember that only a doctor with experience working with Alzheimer’s can give a diagnosis – generally this will be either a neurologist (who specializes in brain disorders) or a geriatric physician (who specializes in older patients). The internet can be a great source of information, but it doesn’t have all the answers and conducting a few Google searches is not the same as earning a medical degree, completing a residency, and building experience working with patients in a healthcare setting.

Jumping to Conclusions

As mentioned above, if you have a history of Alzheimer’s in your family, you should absolutely be on the lookout for it, but don’t make the mistake of thinking every lapse in memory is a sign of Alzheimer’s. Everyone experiences a certain amount of memory loss as a normal part of aging, so don’t start diagnosing your loved ones with Alzheimer’s simply because they can’t remember where they left their keys.

Considering Only Memory

While Alzheimer’s has long been linked with dementia and memory loss, it’s much more than that. In the later stages of the disease, patients begin to lose motor function and even control over their bladder and bowel movements. Their growing confusion and inability to remember things is only a part of the reason they end up needing help with daily tasks – the other big reason is that they need so much help physically performing daily tasks.

That’s why, when doctor’s conduct an exam to determine if a patient has Alzheimer’s, they look at much more than just memory function. They do a complete physical exam, including checking the patient’s pulse, temperature, and their heart and lung function. They’ll also ask about things like the patient’s diet, their alcohol consumption, whether they smoke, and other factors that could impair their cognitive function, but could also affect other aspects of their health.

Other cognitive functions also tend to be impaired in patients suffering from Alzheimer’s, including the ability to solve problems, do basic math, or use or understand language in daily communication. A doctor who knows what they’re doing will test all of these things before diagnosing a patient with Alzheimer’s.

Failing to Understand the Stages

Alzheimer’s has seven stages, although most patients don’t exhibit any symptoms until the second or third stage. Nevertheless, it’s important to understand that diagnosing Alzheimer’s isn’t as simple as saying, “You have Alzheimer’s.” You need to determine what stage the patient is in before you can decide the best way to proceed, including the level of care they need, and how long it’s likely to be before they’ll need a higher level of care.

Here at Stillwater Senior Living, we treat our residents like family. Our apartments include studio, one bedroom, and two bedroom suites, and we are pet friendly. They are designed with security features, maximum accessibility, and include walk-out patois with a full range of amenities for the entire family.

CONTACT US today for more information and a tour of our beautiful state-of-the-art community.

Dementia and Alzheimer’s: How to Find a Doctor Who Can Help

find a doctor for alzheimersNo matter how much you love your general practitioner, they’re probably not the best person to help you deal with your dementia or Alzheimer’s. These days, there’s a specialty for everything, and with all the research and new treatments around dementia and Alzheimer’s, it’s more important than ever for you to make sure you get a doctor who keeps up to date on all the breaking news in that particular section of the medical industry.

Your general practitioner may be a great place to start, but remember they’re just that: general, meaning they really don’t know much about your particular situation. Your GP might recommend a specialist they know, but if they don’t, you’re on your own. So where do you begin? How can you tell which doctor you should turn to in order to help you deal with your dementia or Alzheimer’s?

We’ve come up with a list of a few common types of doctors who might be able to help, along with their qualifications and how to determine which one is right for you.

Geriatric Nurse Practitioner (GNP)

A GNP is a registered nurse with a special focus on providing care to older adults. With illnesses such as dementia and Alzheimer’s becoming increasingly common in older adults, many GNPs are well-versed in the behavioral issues that tend to coincide with dementia and Alzheimer’s, as well as some of the best medications to help alleviate those symptoms. In order to become a geriatric nurse practitioner, one must complete a master’s degree in nursing and become certified by the American Nurse’s Credentialing Center.

Geropsychologist

A gerospychologist is a psychologist who specializes in the specific mental health challenges that are commonly faced by older adults, including dementia and Alzheimer’s. They are qualified to perform psychological testing and therapy that focuses on issues related to behavioral management of Alzheimer’s symptoms, as well as some of the issues that come with being a caregiver, coping, and grief and loss. The requirements for becoming a geropsychologist include getting a doctorate in psychology, followed by completion of an intensive internship, conducted under supervision, of working with older adults.

Geriatric Psychiatrist

A geriatric psychiatrist is similar to a geropsychologist, with the biggest difference being that a geriatric psychiatrist is qualified to prescribe medications to help treat some of the cognitive and behavioral symptoms that tend to come along with dementia and Alzheimer’s. They need to complete a doctorate in medicine, followed by a residency in psychiatry that places an emphasis on working with older adults.

Neurologist

A neurologist is a doctor who specializes in diseases that are related to the nervous system, including Alzheimer’s, epilepsy and Parkinson’s. They need to have completed a doctorate in medicine, followed by a residency in neurology. Any given neurologist may or may not have experience working with older adults, so ask around and make sure you see one who specifically has experience with dementia and/or Alzheimer’s before you start seeing them as their patient.

As always, we want to be your resource as you navigate the various stages with aging parents. Please do not hesitate to contact us with questions.

Here at Stillwater Senior Living, we treat our residents like family. Our apartments include studio, one bedroom, and two bedroom suites, and we are pet friendly. They are designed with security features, maximum accessibility, and include walk-out patois with a full range of amenities for the entire family.

CONTACT US today for more information and a tour of our beautiful state-of-the-art community.

Are You an Only Child Caregiver? Here’s What You Need to Know

only child caregiverBeing a caregiver to aging parents is a tough job no matter how you look at it, but being an only child makes it that much more difficult. When you’re the only one your parent(s) can call on, it makes it that much easier for you to feel stressed, overwhelmed, and to neglect your own needs. It’s a recipe for disaster for everyone involved, so we have some tips on how you can take care of yourself and maintain a sense of balance in your life as an only child caregiver.

  • Talk to Your Employer

If you’re the only one available to take care of your parents (whether because you have no siblings or because they all moved away), it can feel like the only option is to quit your job entirely in order to take care of your parents, but that’s not always the best move. In many cases, our parents need the most help when we’re in our 40s or 50s and at the height of our career, which makes taking a break from our career very damaging. Some people even end up taking money out of their own retirement account so they can cover their financial needs while they take care of their parents, but that puts their own retirement and long-term care needs at risk.

Instead, talk to your employer to see if they offer any Employee Assistance Programs to help pay for you to hire a care manager to help you make decisions about things like in-home care vs. assisted living for your parents.

There’s also the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), which is a federal law that requires employers to hold jobs for workers who are taking care of sick or injured family members for a defined amount of time.

Respite care is another option. This is where you arrange for a friend, neighbor, family member, or in-home caregiver to take a shift while you take a day, or even just a few hours off to go take care of yourself. Whether that means doing chores around your own house, going to see a movie, or spending time with friends, it’s important to do whatever will give you energy to face your next shift as caregiver.

  • Have a Support Network

You might not even be aware of all the resources for support you have around you. Friends, family members and neighbors are all willing to jump in and help out at a moment’s notice. Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it because the response just might surprise you.

  • Use Volunteers

Not enough people know about all the volunteer organizations that are available to help out. The Retired Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) is one such volunteer organization that provides senior companion resources and other volunteer-based services designed to help caregivers with aging family members.

  • Consider Assisted Living

Despite the stigma that still exists around assisted living, it’s often the best option for seniors who are no longer fully capable of taking care of themselves. No matter how hard you try, there may come a time where you can’t do everything yourself, and that’s when it’s time to consider the benefits of assisted living. Not only do we help care for your loved one, we also provide a community of peers for them and resources for you to help you through the process. Call now to speak to one of our representatives about whether Stillwater Senior Living is right for your loved one.

Here at Stillwater Senior Living, we treat our residents like family. Our apartments include studio, one bedroom, and two bedroom suites, and we are pet friendly. They are designed with security features, maximum accessibility, and include walk-out patois with a full range of amenities for the entire family.

CONTACT US today for more information and a tour of our beautiful state-of-the-art community.

How to Avoid Sitting Disease

sitting diseaseWe’ve all heard the warnings and the studies about how bad it is for our health to sit all day long, and yet many of us still spend most of our time in a chair or on the couch. For many of us, there’s little to be done about it, especially if we have a desk job that requires us to be sitting in a chair all day, but the price we pay for it can be truly frightening.

“Sitting disease” is a general term for some of the bad health that can result from spending too much time sitting down. Metabolic syndrome is just one example, but many people also experience an increase in joint pain and stiffness, as well as back and neck pain, and a decrease in bone strength and muscle mass as a result of “sitting disease.” So how can you avoid these painful results?

Set A Timer

While exercising is great, studies have found that going to the gym for an hour a day is less important than getting up and moving your body every hour to an hour and a half. It could be as little as getting up to walk around the room or even doing jumping jacks. You can use an app on your phone or computer, or just a good old-fashioned egg timer to remind you to get up every 60-90 minutes.

If your time and/or mobility is limited, you can do some stretches and exercises without even leaving your desk. They only take a few minutes and can even be done while you’re on the phone with a customer (they’ll never know).

Lose the Chair

Losing the chair has become increasingly common over the past few years, whether you replace it with an exercise ball or lose it altogether by getting a standing desk, your body will likely thank you. Standing desks have gained in popularity and they’re great because they make it easy for you to move around when you need to (you don’t need to exert the extra effort of getting out of your chair, which eliminates that excuse for not moving). You can even do some simple yoga positions while you work.

Some people have taken this idea a step further by setting up their computer on a treadmill or stationary bicycle so they can walk or spin while working. If that’s something that appeals to you and you can make it work, go for it. If that sounds a little extreme, there’s nothing inherently wrong with the traditional desk – you just have to make sure not to overuse it.

Multitask

While desk jobs are certainly dangerous, the amount of TV the average American watches is also a concern, especially considering the fact that most people spend that time sitting down. Next time you turn on the TV, do some stretches while watching your favorite show. It doesn’t have to be a heavy workout, it just needs to be enough to get the blood moving through your body to all your muscles so you don’t have to suffer any of the negative effects of sitting disease.

Here at Stillwater Senior Living, we treat our residents like family. Our apartments include studio, one bedroom, and two bedroom suites. They are designed with security features, maximum accessibility, and include walk-out patois with a full range of amenities for the entire family.

CONTACT US today for more information and a tour of our beautiful state-of-the-art community.

How to Reduce Joint Pain in Fall and Winter

reduce joint painMany people experience increased joint pain as the weather starts to get cooler. Whether it’s the colder temperatures, a change in air pressure, or both, it’s important to know what you can do to reduce joint pain in the months to come, or at least minimize it.

Stay Warm

Since cold weather seems to be a primary predictor of joint pain, the first thing you need to do is stay warm. As soon as the weather starts to drop, pull out the pants, the long sleeves, and the layers. If it helps to keep the thermostat in your home turned up and you can afford the slight raise in utility bills, go for it. You also might want to consider an electric blanket or a heating pad you can keep in your bed to help you stay warm all night long.

Maintain a Healthy Diet

Inflammation, high blood sugar levels, and poor nutrition can also contribute to joint pain. Healthy fats, such as the ones found in olive oil, avocado oil, and nuts and seeds can help moderate both inflammation and blood sugar, while keeping us full. They can also help our skin from drying out.

Other tips to remember include getting plenty of micronutrients from fruits and veggies and staying away from sugar and trans fats. To be sure you’re doing everything you can to minimize joint pain through diet, you might want to consult a registered dietician.

Stay Active

This tip can be hard to follow since many of our opportunities for exercising outside disappear, especially if the cold weather makes it harder for you to move. If you enjoy outdoor activities in the fall and winter, just be sure to layer up every time you go outside. For many people, keeping up a constant (even low-level) movement is enough to stay warm and keep the pain at bay.

If going outside in the cold is too challenging for you, remember there are plenty of exercises you can do inside and even from the comfort of your own home. Whether it’s strength training (such as pushups and squats), jumping jacks, or yoga. Strength training also has proven benefits to keeping bones and joints strong and yoga has plenty to offer when it comes to, not only increasing flexibility, but lowering inflammation and improving joint pain.

Get a Massage

Not only do they feel wonderful, but in addition to lowering stress and inflammation, massages also improve circulation. If you’ve been having trouble with a particular joint, you might want to ask your massage therapist to focus on that particular area to help increase the blood flow and lower pain in that area.

Plan Ahead

Finally, it’s important to plan ahead. That can be easier said than done here in the Midwest where the weather can change on a moment’s notice, but try to keep an eye on the weather predictions and check the temperature before you go out so you know when to layer up. Staying one step ahead can be key to avoiding pain.

Here at Stillwater Senior Living, we treat our residents like family. Our apartments include studio, one bedroom, and two bedroom suites. They are designed with security features, maximum accessibility, and include walk-out patois with a full range of amenities for the entire family.

CONTACT US today for more information and a tour of our beautiful state-of-the-art community.

National Assisted Living Week

national assisted living weekEvery day we work to help our residents live the best lives possible, and while we’re always grateful for the opportunity to work with these incredible people, once a year there’s a week in which we get to really celebrate our jobs.

This year that week is starting on September 9thand going through September 15th. It’s the 23rdannual National Assisted Living Week, which was established by the National Center for Assisted Living (NCAL) to provide opportunities for residents, their friends and family, staff, and volunteers to recognize the role assisted living plays in caring for older Americans and those with Alzheimer’s or some form of dementia.

Each year, National Assisted Living Week has a theme and this year’s theme is “Capture the Moment.” The theme has a few goals, including inspiring residents to seize the day and realize their dreams, while also encouraging staff and volunteers to think of the short moments and small interactions with residents as the ones that really define their care. Finally, this theme will hopefully help the country at large to realize that, contrary to popular belief, those living in assisted living have not yet reached the end of the line.

While the wordplay in the title of this year’s theme intentionally evokes thoughts of photography and videography, it’s not just about capturing today’s moments. It’s also about providing an opportunity for residents to look back over their lives at the things they’ve seen and done and experienced, as well as the people they’ve known. Photos and videos can be a great way to help residents accomplish this, especially those with degenerative diseases who might not be able to remember some of the most significant moments in their lives.

If you’re looking for activities for your assisted living community to do to celebrate this year’s National Assisted Living Week, we’ve got you covered:

Portable cameras

Arm everyone with a camera: residents, visitors, and staff. You can either use disposable cameras and then take them in to get the film developed, or you can use polaroid cameras so everyone can see the results immediately. It’s best to stick to physical cameras, rather than smart phones, since many older people don’t know how to use smart phones properly and could get confused.

But everyone knows how to use a physical camera and polaroids give the added pleasure of watching the picture come to life before your eyes. On the other hand, disposable cameras are just as easy to use, cost effective, and the delay in getting to see the photos provides extra joy as everyone gets to see photos they don’t even remember taking – or they do remember, but the picture didn’t turn out quite like they thought it would.

Drawing

You can think outside the box when it comes to “capture the moment” and capture it with pencil and paper instead of a camera. This might be difficult for some of the older residents, but it could be fun for the more artistically inclined staff and visitors to draw residents and share the results.

Scrapbooking

Scrapbooking is a great way to reminisce. It gives residents a chance to think about their lives as a story as they organize their scrapbooks by grouping photos together. They’re also creative and just a fun way to spend time.

We’ve just scratched the surface of the possibilities here. Don’t be afraid to dig a little deeper into your creative well and think up fun ways for you and your residents/loved ones to celebrate National Assisted Living Week.

Here at Stillwater Senior Living, we treat our residents like family. Our apartments include studio, one bedroom, and two bedroom suites. They are designed with security features, maximum accessibility, and include walk-out patois with a full range of amenities for the entire family.

CONTACT US today for more information and a tour of our beautiful state-of-the-art community.

The Biggest Misconceptions About Assisted Living

Misconceptions About Assisted LivingThere are so many unfounded rumors and misconceptions about assisted living that we hardly even knew where to begin. Eventually, we decided it was best to start with the most common misconceptions about assisted living and go from there.

Loss of Independence

Many people think that moving out of their own home and into assisted living will mean losing all their independence, but that’s simply not true. It’s called “assisted” living for a reason, not “controlled” living. Our job is to assist our residents in living their best lives.

As people age and start to lose some of their ability to take care of themselves, our role as an assisted living community is to help them with those tasks, including helping out with hobbies and other fun activities as needed.

At Stillwater Senior Living, we not only have parking available for our residents who are still able to drive, we also provide transportation to those who are no longer able to drive. Wherever it is you need to go, we’ll help make sure you get there.

Big-Name Assisted Living Communities Provide the Best Care

Humans are primed to prefer the familiar, which means, when it’s time to choose an assisted living community, we’re more likely to choose one we’ve heard of over a smaller community that might not have as large of a marketing budget.

This is a mistake. You should always do your due diligence before deciding on something as important as assisted living. You’re trusting your loved ones to this building and this staff, so you had better make sure you can trust them.

Assisted living can also be very individual. A larger company might have the more well-known brand, but they might not be able to provide your loved one with the specific level of care they require. The benefit of smaller assisted living communities is that they often have the ability to be more flexible, and are sometimes more affordable because of their lower overhead costs.

Assisted Living Is More Expensive Than Staying Home

This is not always the case, and even when it is, consider the other costs associated with staying home. For example, many of those who choose to stay home rely on an unpaid family member to take care of them. While this person may be very loving and doing their best as a caregiver, if they’re not a trained professional, they may not be equipped to provide the best care. There’s always the chance they may miss something that a professional would recognize as a red flag, or they could make a simple mistake that turns out to be dangerous.

It also means having to put their own career on hold, so the financial strain imposed on the rest of the family as a result of the decision to forego assisted living actually has the potential to outweigh the costs of assisted living.

Conclusion

The bottom line is that you shouldn’t believe everything you hear and be sure to question everything you think you know about assisted living. It’s an industry that’s changing along with our society, so what may have been true of assisted living in your grandparents’ day may not necessarily be the case today.

Here at Stillwater Senior Living, we treat our residents like family. Our apartments include studio, one bedroom, and two bedroom suites. They are designed with security features, maximum accessibility, and include walk-out patois with a full range of amenities for the entire family.

CONTACT US today for more information and a tour of our beautiful state-of-the-art community.

4 Assisted Living Mistakes to Avoid

assisted living mistakes to avoidChoosing an assisted living community for your loved one is a big decision and not one to be undertaken lightly or quickly. In addition to the significant expense involved, most communities require you to sign a contract, so even if you and/or your loved one aren’t happy with the result, they could be stuck there for months until your contract runs out.

We’ve looked at four of the most common assisted living mistakes people make when choosing an assisted living community and listed them below so you can be on your guard and avoid making these mistakes.

Not Doing Your Research

Assisted living is too expensive and important an investment to not do your research ahead of time. Know whether the community is licensed by your state (they should be). What’s their rating according to the state? What’s their rating according to other residents and family members?

Take a tour. Talk to the staff. Talk to other residents if you can. Ask around to see if you know anyone who has used the facility, and if so, what they have to say about it.

Failing to Be Realistic About Current and/or Future Needs

This can be tough, especially when it comes to our parents. We want to believe they’re invincible and it can be incredibly upsetting to see them in a state of vulnerability. But that’s exactly why you’re looking at assisted living options in the first place, so it doesn’t do any good to shy away from the facts. Be realistic, not only about what they need now, but what they might need in the months or years to come. If they have a degenerative disease, know the stages and what future stages might look like. How will that affect the level of care they’ll need? How will you and the assisted living community adjust to take those additional needs into account?

Choosing What You Want Instead of What’s in The Best Interests of Your Loved One

It can be very tempting to choose the first community with a glossy brochure and clean waiting area with new furniture, but there’s so much more to assisted living than that. One community might have a great library, which sounds like heaven to you, but how does that sound to your loved one? Do they like to read? Are they losing their eyesight, which is making reading harder for them? If so, does the community offer alternatives, such as books with large print or audiobooks?

Maybe your loved one prefers playing board games. In that case you should ask if the assisted living community has a good supply. Do they have a weekly game night or a chess club? Look for activities you know your loved one will enjoy.

Remember, you’re not the one who’s going to be living here – they are. Not only should they feel comfortable there, but the top priority needs to be making sure their needs are met.

Going it Alone

It can be hard for many of us to accept help, even when we need it most. While you can do your research online and take a tour of the facility, few things measure up to talking to people who’ve been there. Reach out to people you know who have had to put their loved ones in assisted living communities. Even if you end up choosing a different community, it can be helpful to talk to someone who’s been through the process, so you know what to expect and what to look for.

Hiring a geriatric care manager or a senior living advisor can also be a great way to get professional advice on what your loved one needs and the best ways to make sure they get it.

Here at Stillwater Senior Living, we treat our residents like family. Our apartments include studio, one bedroom, and two bedroom suites. They are designed with security features, maximum accessibility, and include walk-out patois with a full range of amenities for the entire family.

CONTACT US today for more information and a tour of our beautiful state-of-the-art community.

The Differences Between Assisted Living and Memory Care

Differences Between Assisted Living and Memory CareOnce you’ve determined your loved one needs help with daily tasks and some of the basics of taking care of themselves, it’s time to consider the level of care they need. We’ve talked before on this blog about the differences between assisted living communities and nursing homes – now it’s time to look at the differences between assisted living and memory care communities.

Assisted Living Communities

There is no federal regulation of assisted living communities, but they do need to be licensed by the state. The services offered by assisted living communities vary from one to another, so it’s important to do your research ahead of time to know what each community offers, as well as their location, pricing and payment plans.

While some assisted living communities offer just help with basic day-to-day tasks such as cooking, dressing, and remembering to take medications, others offer more extensive care, including 24-hour nursing to those who need it. Residents are often given the choice of living on their own or with a roommate, depending on their preferences and affordability. In some cases, spouses can choose to stay together, and if one needs more care than the other, each pays only for the services they need.

Memory Care Communities

There is also no federal regulation of memory care communities and only 23 states require their memory care communities to be licensed, so be extra thorough when doing your research before deciding on a memory care community for your loved one, especially if you live in a state that does not require memory care communities to be licensed. Online reviews aren’t always the most trustworthy source of information, but they can be a good starting point, especially if you can also get personal recommendations from someone you trust.

Memory care communities provide a higher level of care designed specifically to take care of residents with dementia, Alzheimer’s, and other diseases that involve loss of memory and cognitive abilities. They generally have a layout that is welcoming and easy to navigate in order to reduce stress and anxiety for the residents. They also have 24-hour measures in place to prevent residents from wandering off.

Two in One

Some assisted living communities offer memory care services in addition to their other services, usually as a separate building or wing that is dedicated to residents with dementia or Alzheimer’s. Depending on the community and the current physical and mental wellbeing of your loved one, this can be a great option for someone who’s still fairly active and alert, but might need more help with daily living as their condition deteriorates.

If your loved one is in the early stages of Alzheimer’s or dementia, or you suspect they may develop the disease later on (for example, if it runs in your family) an assisted living community that also offers memory care could provide the best of both worlds. They can start at whatever level of care they need and progress to the memory care if you and the staff decide that’s what is in their best interests.

Here at Stillwater Senior Living, we treat our residents like family. Our apartments include studio, one bedroom, and two bedroom suites. They are designed with security features, maximum accessibility, and include walk-out patois with a full range of amenities for the entire family.

CONTACT US today for more information and a tour of our beautiful state-of-the-art community.

Communicating with Someone with Dementia

dementiaIt can be one of the hardest things to see someone you love and have counted on for a long time, and yet not be able to communicate with them. It’s safe to say dementia changes people, while also leaving parts of them more intact than ever before. Just because they don’t talk or act the way you remember, doesn’t mean your loved one isn’t in there somewhere. It might take a little more work to get them to come out of their “shell,” but it’s well worth the effort.

We’ve come up with some strategies that can help you reach the person we all know is hiding in there, but first, you have to:

Set Realistic Expectations

Don’t assume your loved one will be able to talk to you the way they always have, and don’t try to force them to do so, because that will just make things worse. People with dementia often have a hard time understanding others and communicating, so cut them some slack and avoid getting frustrated when you can’t understand them. Instead, try to come up with creative ways to convey what you’re saying, and the same goes for trying to understand their communications. Their sentences may be broken or they may try to use more hand gestures to convey their meaning, so just go with it and do your best to understand. This is hard for them, too.

Talk Somewhere Quiet

Find somewhere that’s quiet and free of distractions so both of you can focus on the conversation at hand.

Talk Normally

Don’t use baby talk or speak to them in any other condescending way. Avoid getting agitated, and talk in a calm, level voice, but don’t ever talk down to them.

Use Names

People with dementia can find conversation hard to follow when there are a lot of pronouns involved, so avoid using words like “he,” “she,” and “they.” Call them by their names, and the same goes for initiating a conversation. Don’t just say, “Hi, it’s me.” Instead, say, “Hi Grandpa, it’s Suzie.” Don’t make them guess because that will lead to frustration and anxiety. Make it easy for them and the whole interaction will go much more smoothly.

Take It One Thing at a Time

Don’t jump around from topic to topic, because they’ll be less likely to be able to follow you. Pick a subject and stick to it. By the same token, if your loved one changes the subject abruptly, just go with it. Don’t try to guide them back to what you were talking about, but listen to what they have to say. That’s the track their mind is on at the moment, so you’ll get the most out of following it, rather than trying to derail it.

Use Body Language

Nonverbal cues, such as smiling and maintaining eye contact, will help put your loved one at ease, no matter what stage of the disease they’re in. They may also find it difficult to use and interpret language as the disease progresses, so hand gestures and other nonverbal cues may be the best way to get them to understand you.

Be an Active Listener

Every conversation needs to have some give and take and that’s as true when talking with someone with dementia as it is of talking with anyone else. Always pay attention to what they’re saying and let them know (gently and calmly) if you don’t understand.

Trying to have a conversation with someone who has dementia is always going to be hard and there’s just no way around that. But with these tips, hopefully you can make the process a little easier.

Here at Stillwater Senior Living, we treat our residents like family. Our apartments include studio, one bedroom, and two bedroom suites. They are designed with security features, maximum accessibility, and include walk-out patois with a full range of amenities for the entire family.

CONTACT US today for more information and a tour of our beautiful state-of-the-art community.