You and your staff have lots of experience working with people with dementia—probably hundreds of years collectively if you add up everyone’s time!—and have learned ways to communicate with them effectively and therapeutically. Sometimes, though, we assume that the family and friends of our residents have the same intuitive response and knowledge when it comes to communicating with someone with dementia.
Keep in mind that for many of your residents’ loved ones, this is their first “up-close and personal” experience with dementia. They will often welcome any guidance and information you can offer.
You and your staff have probably cringed at least a few times when overhearing visits between one of your residents and their well-meaning loved ones. For example, have you ever heard someone say something like: “Don’t you remember, Mom? This is your nephew! You’ve known him since he was born!” or “Dad, why would you put the TV remote in your sock drawer? You know it doesn’t go in there!”.
Consider holding a “friends and family night” where you invite loved ones to gather and have a staff member discuss tips on communicating with their loved ones, and include information on what to expect as the dementia progresses. DailyCaring.com has shared a list of ten tips for friends and family members to keep in mind when visiting someone with dementia. Click on the link to read through them, and please share these with family members of people living in your community:
Finally—a REMINDER—Send us an example of how you or a staff member have handled resident-to-resident aggression and you can win a prize for your community! Please email your entry by Sunday, July 28th. We’ll announce the winners in the August 4th tidbit.
Have a great week!