Communication Tips for Dementia Care

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Coping with the death of a family member

Allow Yourself to Grieve

One of the most important things you can do when faced with the death of a loved one is to allow yourself to grieve. You may experience shock, anger, sadness, and can even feel lost or helpless. This is normal, but it is necessary to express these feelings because keeping them in will only lessen your ability to cope.

Talk to your family and friends about what you are feeling. It is likely that they are feeling the same emotions as you and talking about it will help you cope and find closure. Talking about your loved one after their death is also a great way to honor their memory and help you appreciate the moments you had with them. There are other ways to honor them as well, including donating to their favorite charities, planting a tree in their memory, or spending time with family to share stories and reminisce with photos of fun times. These kinds of activities, while they may seem difficult, will help you find closure and acceptance.

When you experience the death of a family member, you will be filled with many emotions and may also be required to do things like make funeral arrangements or work with their estate planners to carry out their final will. During this time, it is imperative that you take care of yourself and not neglect your needs – eat well, get plenty of rest, and try to continue doing the things that bring you joy. Whether this is exercise or spending time with friends, this will help you cope and keep a level head while dealing with other responsibilities.

MEDIA INQUIRIES

Communicating with a loved one who has symptoms of dementia can be challenging at times. Dementia can impair a person’s memory, feelings, behavior, and thinking skills, making communication especially difficult. They may have trouble forming and using words, difficulty following and responding to conversations, make inappropriate comments, repeat themselves, or believe things that aren’t true. 

If you have a loved one with dementia, you may have experienced all of the above. It’s heartbreaking to see, and it can be hard to respond when a conversation goes off track. You may wonder how to handle outbursts or respond when your loved one mixes up facts or names.

While everyone is different and there is no one answer, there are tips to help you improve the communication regarding dementia care from both sides:

If all those tips look overwhelming, try picking one or two that seem most relevant to you and focus on those. Your needs and your loved one’s needs may change with each conversation – every person’s path with dementia is unique, and it’s never easy. But being there for your loved one is worth it for both of you.

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