Taking care of and communicating with your aging parent with memory problems may be time-consuming, exhausting, and often unsatisfying. It is no surprise that this may result in a rising sense of powerlessness when memory loss or dementia is added to the mix. As conversations with your loved ones who have memory problems might be difficult, it is vital for you to understand how dementia and memory loss affect the brain, and then adjust your expectations accordingly. Here are some tips for communicating with your aging parent with memory problems.
Focus on Feelings
When you are communicating with your loved ones, try to focus on the feelings they are trying to communicate. Do not undermine your loved ones’ self-assurance by correcting small mistakes frequently or telling them that their recall is bad, as this will just aggravate them. As a result, they may withdraw from unexpectedly challenging talks and activities. Hence, focus on the emotions elicited by the statement instead.
You will need to correct or explain what your loved one is saying on occasion. For instance, this applies when your loved one makes a false charge against someone. In this case, you should be sympathetic and rebuke them in a way that does not weaken or embarrass them. Keep in mind that they may forget the adjustment at some point, so you may need to repeat it.
Plan for Comfort
Establish the proper tone to ensure that all participants are at ease. Plan ahead of time for the talk’s timing, venue, and your loved ones to create a nice, neutral, non-threatening environment. It is vital that everyone feels comfortable and can participate in the discourse. Your objective should be to develop an atmosphere of understanding with your loved ones so that they feel comfortable having difficult end-of-life talks. Avoid placing too much pressure on yourself at the outset of a difficult conversation. Make an attempt to convey your thoughts without using aggressive language. When recommending a change, start small to allow your parents to reconsider their minds. Applying light pressure or persuading them to accept your point of view can lead to better results.
Speak slowly and clearly. Short phrases and simple terminology should be utilized. Repeat the procedure as needed. Maintain eye contact with the individual you are speaking with. By asking questions one at a time, you may give yourself more time to respond. Maintain a positive attitude and refrain from speaking down to others. Approaching or conversing with someone from behind or to the side is not a good idea.
It is crucial to keep in mind that memory loss and dementia are terrible experiences for everyone involved. Be adaptable and attempt to understand what your loved one is going through. Be patient, positive, and aware of when it is appropriate to correct someone. Keep in mind that the interaction, no matter how minor it may appear to you, means the world to your loved one, who is suffering from a condition they are certain they will never be able to overcome.