Wednesday, July 2, 2014


I thought this was a great post on Caregiver Resources Vermont about communicating with people with dementia. We all know how difficult it can be, not only to understand what our loved ones are trying to communicate to us, but to convey to them what we need or want them to know.

Dad is past being able to communicate verbally at all, unfortunately. The Lewy Body has stolen his words, but it has also stolen the physical capacity of his throat and jaw muscles to produce sounds. His caregivers and I have to rely on his physical and non-verbal cues to know when he is happy, mad, hungry, irritated at being managed, etc. Believe me, he is very good at communicating irritation; he stiffens up and refuses to move, and his jaw locks. (I recognize that jaw-locking from when I was a little girl and he was unhappy about something.)

Dad was never much of a talker, we used to spend a great deal of our time together quietly, out walking, or looking through museums. When he first moved into the Adult Family Home where he lives now, they kept trying to make him talk and interact, which, of course, is a good thing as it keeps our loved ones functioning and involved. I had to tell them, though, that he was always the quiet type and not to worry if he didn't say much.

We still spend our time together quietly, and I try to communicate my presence and my care non-verbally, with touches, and hand massages, and smiles. Regardless of whether your loved one can communicate and comprehend verbally or not, the unspoken will always work - touch and body language are your best tools, and they can convey the best to your loved one that you care.

Caregiver Resources has a specific page per state with resources (obviously!), information, and interesting posts. I urge you to check them out.

No comments:

Post a Comment