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Nonverbal Ways to Communicate When Providing Dementia Care

By Home Care Assistance, 9:00 am on

Dementia gradually affects a senior’s ability to communicate. Though this may be difficult to adjust to, it’s important your senior loved one understands what you’re trying to express and has a way to convey his or her feelings as well. The use of nonverbal forms of communication can help you provide high-quality Vancouver dementia care for your loved one. 

Hand Gestures 

Your loved one can ease some of his or her frustration by communicating with gestures like pointing or nodding. These cues can help your loved one express when he or she has become upset or wants to stop or proceed. This not only makes communication easier for your loved one, but it can also help you gain a better understanding of what he or she is saying. This helps prevent confusion, which could cause your loved one to become frustrated and irritated. 

Visual Tools 

Using charts, graphs, and slide shows may help your loved one clarify his or her thoughts and emotions more effectively. Your loved one can communicate what he or she needs, dislikes, and enjoys by adding the information into one of these visual tools. These forms of nonverbal communication are also good for boosting brain activity because your loved one needs to practice memory skills and retain knowledge of the things he or she wants to express.

Eye Contact 

Using this form of communication, you can determine your loved one’s mood. If your loved one wants to be left alone, his or her eyes may give off a look of annoyance. The eyes can also communicate other emotions, including hostility, affection, and interest. When reading your loved one’s eyes, approach him or her face to face to prevent startling or intimidating him or her.

Facial Expressions 

If your loved one is unable to communicate he or she is in pain, look at his or her facial expressions. Grimacing should raise a red flag because your loved one may have a broken or sprained bone or an infection of some type. Understanding facial expressions may help you secure the treatment your loved one needs more quickly.

Participating in activities designed for seniors with memory-related conditions may also help increase your loved one’s communication skills. At Home Care Assistance, we developed a program called the Cognitive Therapeutics Method (CTM), which uses activities to slow cognitive decline and delay the onset of dementia. For more information on CTM and the elder care Vancouver families trust, call one of our experienced Case Managers at 778-279-3634 to schedule a free in-home consultation.