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Strategies for Communicating with Seniors with Dementia – Edmonton

The experience of receiving a diagnosis of Dementia can be deeply disheartening, concerning, and life-altering for seniors and their families alike. Along with the realities that accompany Dementia are the disheartening and upsetting facts that friends and family must often face related to the changes in seniors’ ability to interact, communicate and, connect in the same way as they could earlier in their lives. Despite this, it is important not to abandon hope or assume that trying to communicate effectively is a lost cause. Even the smallest or most fleeting of moments during which a sense of connectedness is experienced can be so incredibly meaningful, and there are strategies that can help facilitate and nurture better communication with seniors who have Dementia that can help to bring those special moments to fruition. Even as new challenges present themselves, remember that there is always room for hope. How Dementia Makes Communication Difficult Dementia alters seniors’ functioning in numerous important ways, many of which can create barriers that make communication a lot more difficult and challenging to navigate. The following list outlines some of the behaviours that may come into play with Dementia that can inhibit seniors’ ability to communicate as effectively as they once did: Describing people or objects rather than calling them by name Difficulty ordering words and formulating coherent sentences Forgetting or being unable to find a word Losing train of thought easily Making up new words to replace lost ones Repeating words or phrases Relying on gestures rather than speaking verbally Reverting to a mother-tongue or first language learned The extent to which seniors display these behaviours...