Understand the Role of communication and Interactions with Individuals who have Dementia
1. Understand that individuals with dementia may communicate in different ways:
1.1 Explain how individuals with dementia may communicate through their behaviour:
Individuals with dementia find it very difficult to understand words and meanings and forget what is being said even while we are speaking.
Communication is more difficult if they are tired or upset. They tend to repeat questions, can’t remember the answer that was given to them, can’t remember that they have asked before. When talking with a Resident that has Dementia make sure that you level your profile and speak slow and clearly to them. Make sure there are no distracting sounds. Maintain eye contact and remain calm and pleasant. Use simple sentences and words always giving the individual time to understand. Add gestures, pointing or demonstrating also encourages touching or smelling objects or see a picture.
Individuals with dementia are able to understand till a certain extension, and they have several ways to communicate back, can be by:
Positive or negative behaviour
Use of gestures
Use of inappropriate verbal response
Not able to speak
1.2 Give examples of how carers and others may misinterpret communication:
Misinterpret can happen for a lot of reasons. For example: a person in a wheelchair may find it difficult to communicate when going in to doctors/dentists as the reception desks are too high and above the person’s head and therefore might not want to go there. Aggressive/ bad behaviour may be misinterpreted by someone who doesn’t know the individual very well. The answer may be as simple as sitting in the wrong seat. The individual may also lash out because they are in pain; they may become aggressive because they are in so much pain and cannot tell you, which in turn can lead to frustration.
Cultural differences also can affect our understanding especially in our multi-cultural society. We tend to think of communication as talking, but in fact it consists of much more than that. It is also non-verbal communication, such as gestures, facial expressions and touch.
Non-verbal communication is particularly important for a person with dementia who is losing their Language skills. When a person with dementia behaves in ways that cause problems for those caring for them, it is important to realise that they may be trying to communicate about something.
When someone has dementia they feel isolated, good communication a skill bring more social interaction and makes the individual feel more valued. When a carer gets to know the individual they will be able to pick up all the forms of communication used and they will connect, which leads to the individual feeling listened to which then leads to the individual feeling valued and reinforcing their identity.
1.3 Explain the importance of effective communication to an individual with dementia:
Increased relationship for both parties
Boosting self esteem
Feeling more valued
Being less isolated
An enjoyable process for the individual and the care worker
Care workers feel more motivated
Individuals feel more ‘listened to’
The individual feels worthy and loved.
Listen carefully to what the person has to say.
Make sure you have their full attention before you speak.
Pay attention to body language.
Think about how things appear in the reality of the person with dementia.
Consider whether any other factors are affecting communication.
Use physical contact to reassure the person.
Show respect and patience, remember it may take longer for the brain to process the information and respond.
1.4 Describe how different forms of dementia may affect the way an individual communicates.
All the forms of dementia will affect in time the ability of the person of communicates,