Hopefully you have read Parts 1 & 2 of my communication series. Here’s some additional advice:
- Closely monitor any changes in your loved one’s medications. If you notice an abrupt change in their ability to communicate or assimilate data, investigate what medications they are currently taking. Make sure that they are receiving the proper dosages. If they live in a facility, make sure that there have been no medication changes made without your permission. Many times throughout Nan’s illness it has been necessary to actually reduce her dosages or omit a medication altogether. Be sure to speak to your physician anytime that you witness abrupt changes in your loved one’s personality, sleep habits, or communication skills.
- Maintain healthy blood sugar levels. here is yet another factor that can affect your loved one’s ability to communicate and enjoy their life. Dementia sufferers are extremely sensitive to high and low blood sugar levels, resulting in heightened confusion and anxiety levels.
- Be flexible. As you know all to too well, dementia patients have good and bad days. Don’t try to convey important information on a day when they are overly tired or are having difficulty with their normal routine. Also, choose a time of day that they are typically the most alert and mentally active. See my July 24th post: When Your Loved One has Sundowner’s Syndrome.
- Keep a positive attitude. Remember that the patient is an emotional sponge and is affected by both your verbal and nonverbal cues.