Many seniors’care facilities offer dementia care. It is much the same as memory care for Alzheimer’s, though different types of dementia may manifest themselves in much different ways. Many years ago it was common for nursing homes to restrain residents with dementia by tying them to a chair or bed. It wasn’t until the late 1980’s that things began to change. Patients were often medicated rather than restrained physically at that time.
Senior care facilities now take into consideration that communicating with dementia patients can be difficult.
Communication should involve the following:
- Always ask simple, direct questions. Never ask more than one question at a time.
- Set a positive mood. Before interacting with a patient you should consider how you feel. Your attitude will communicate itself to the patient. Always be respectful and try to show affection.
- Break down all activities into a series of simple steps. At some point most dementia patients will need to be reminded of steps they need to take to accomplish tasks.
- Respond to dementia patients with reassurance. Dementia patients often feel confused, so respond to them gently. Reality can be confusing for someone with dementia. Stay focused on their feelings.
- Get their attention. Before communicating with a dementia patient, limit other noises or distractions. Turn off televisions and radios or move to a quieter area. Identify yourself so as to avoid confusion.
Newer facilities for dementia care are improving the way we interact with patients. They realize that not all of the patients are aware of where they are and many may try to leave. They try to keep residents busy with crafts, cognitive exercises and physical exercise. Some facilities have artificial streets sets up with gifts shops and beauty salons. Props and simulations have been built to give the impression of movement such as waves. Most props and simulations are fantasies that have been conceived to calm the dementia patient.
To preserve the dignity of the patient these new facilities are being set up. Those with dementia may still live many years and keeping them happy is the goal of those who work there. To read the article on The Comforting Fictions of Dementia Care, click here.