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17 Things To Remember If Your Loved Ones Have Dementia

17 Things To Remember If Your Loved Ones Have Dementia

Many people mistake dementia as a disease and as a natural consequence of getting older when it is actually the result of damage to brain cells that affect memory. Dementia affects 47.5 million people today and there is no cure for this syndrome.

Even though Alzheimer’s accounts for 60 to 80 percent of dementia cases, many forms of dementia are a result of injury or stroke. Consequently, dementia is not always progressive and can have an immediate impact on families and friends who aren’t prepared.

For many who have dementia, they face unfair criticism because there’s no test to determine if one has this syndrome. Not surprisingly, people who have dementia can be incredibly confused about why they are having memory problems.

The good news: doctors can determine whether a person has dementia with a high degree of confidence. Still, we must stay vigilant to not criticize or condemn others when they forget things because the truth is we don’t know the cause until it’s identified.

And if you can remember these seventeen things, you’ll have a better understanding of the challenges your loved one with dementia experiences:

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1. They will lose their sense of direction

People with dementia have a tendency to lose their sense of direction. It can start with forgetting particular landmarks that once helped them navigate their neighborhood. As a result, you should help them by making lists of where they like to go with detailed and visual instructions.

2. They will lose track of where they keep things

“I can’t remember where I put my keys!” From the smallest things that fit in our pocket to the bigger possessions in our lives like cars, forgetting them can’t take a tremendous mental and often physical toll on people with dementia.

3. They will repeat themselves

“I heard that story yesterday.” People with dementia forget many of the things they say, especially stories. Be careful not to interrupt them and belittle their enthusiasm to tell a story you’ve heard for the tenth time. Instead, ask different questions each time they’re deep in storytelling so the story will take on a new life.

4. They will find difficulty in doing simple tasks

From balancing a checkbook to playing poker, simple tasks will begin to seem more complicated to them. As a result, they may get frustrated with the task and even at others. Don’t let their mood affect yours and remain motivated and willing to help them.

5. They won’t always follow a storyline

Not only will people with dementia repeat stories, but they may leave out huge pieces of the stories they tell. From forgetting particular words to being unable to follow a T.V. show storyline, these are classic warning signs to look out for.

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6. They can lack empathy

Having dementia can be a burden on your confidence, adventure, and emotional well-being. Consequently, people with dementia may stop going out and participating in their regular hobbies and activities. I suggest trying your best to excite them about having fun because depression makes having dementia much worse.

7. They can become angry quickly

Sudden anger outbursts, depression, and heightened hysteria are all signs of dementia. Also, it’s not always just a one-time thing, you may see a complete change in personality because when memory is affected, judgment is too.

8. They will find themselves confused

When it’s difficult to remember friends, family, and faces, people with dementia can experience overwhelming confusion. Moreover, when they try to fix the issue by explaining their point of view, they often can’t find the right words; this exacerbates the problem. Stay kind and comforting while they go through periods of disorientation.

9. They will struggle to adapt to change

Imagine being told you have dementia. Many people would react with fear and shock. Having dementia means you need to take precautionary steps to prepare for increasing symptoms. Adventurous and independent people may see these steps as irrational and as obstacles to living their normal lives.

10. They won’t always remember they love you

This is one of the hardest characteristics of dementia that affects loved ones. Having sparent, grandparents, or siblings forget who you are can be extremely tough to bear. You have to remember that it’s not them, but the symptoms of dementia. Deep down inside they will always love you.

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11. They need friendship more than ever

People with dementia can feel isolated because it’s hard to prepare for worsening symptoms, and they may perceive that they’re going through this “journey” alone. Make sure they have constant reminders that you’re there for them and won’t be leaving anytime soon.

12. They are just as uncertain about the future as you are

Whether you’re a recent college graduate or in your late seventies, all of us are uncertain about what the future holds in terms of accomplishing our goals. It’s important we realize that many people with dementia have dreams they still want to achieve, too. Moreover, we should try to help them achieve these dreams before they get discouraged.

13. They are part of the nearly 7.7 million worldwide new cases of dementia each year

In other words, one new case happens every four seconds. This doesn’t mean that people with dementia are just a statistic. What this means is that dementia is a common struggle that millions of people go through. As a result, it’s important to reach out for help and advice from those who have gone through the same struggle.

14. They may not recognize the same sounds as they are used to

The music your loved one once adored now disturbs them, or they’ve suddenly taken an interest in jazz. Finding the right music for someone with dementia can be a bit of a roller coaster ride. The upside is that once you find something that attracts their taste, you’ll more than likely put a smile on their face.

15. They are not carrying a disease

People often confuse dementia as a natural disease that people receive as they age. However, dementia is not natural and not something someone else can give you — it’s just a syndrome. We should strive to educate others about dementia, so they are not scared to help.

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16. They may have problems moving

People with dementia can find themselves in prolonged states of immobility. When someone’s confused and struggles to adapt to change, they become fearful; as a result, they decide keep to themselves. What they need is for their loved ones to guide them and help them embrace life no matter how small the baby steps are.

17. They need your encouragement

This sounds obvious, but encouragement is not something that’s always built strong within people, especially after years of helping a loved one with dementia. It can be a huge boulder to carry, so make sure to reach out to those currently caring for someone with dementia.

The number of people with dementia is expected to increase to 75.6 million in 2030, so we must come to terms with it. Even though we can’t prevent dementia, we can still improve our memory. Keeping an active mind, staying away from medication with adverse side effects, not excessively drinking, a good sleep schedule, and maintaining a healthy diet are just a few ways to keep your memory sharp.

Moreover, stay open-minded and if you see someone acting strange, remember that an early diagnosis can help those with dementia tremendously by helping them prepare for the future.

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Last Updated on May 21, 2019

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

For all our social media bravado, we live in a society where communication is seen less as an art, and more as a perfunctory exercise. We spend so much time with people, yet we struggle with how to meaningfully communicate.

If you believe you have mastered effective communication, scan the list below and see whether you can see yourself in any of the examples:

Example 1

You are uncomfortable with a person’s actions or comments, and rather than telling the individual immediately, you sidestep the issue and attempt to move on as though the offending behavior or comment never happened.

You move on with the relationship and develop a pattern of not addressing challenging situations. Before long, the person with whom you are in relationship will say or do something that pushes you over the top and predictably, you explode or withdraw completely from the relationship.

In this example, hard-to-speak truths become never- expressed truths that turn into resentment and anger.

Example 2

You communicate from the head and without emotion. While what you communicate makes perfect sense to you, it comes across as cold because it lacks emotion.

People do not understand what motivates you to say what you say, and without sharing your feelings and emotions, others experience you as rude, cold or aggressive.

You will know this is a problem if people shy away from you, ignore your contributions in meetings or tell you your words hurt. You can also know you struggle in this area if you find yourself constantly apologizing for things you have said.

Example 3

You have an issue with one person, but you communicate your problem to an entirely different person.

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The person in whom you confide lacks the authority to resolve the matter troubling you, and while you have vented and expressed frustration, the underlying challenge is unresolved.

Example 4

You grew up in a family with destructive communication habits and those habits play out in your current relationships.

Because you have never stopped to ask why you communicate the way you do and whether your communication style still works, you may lack understanding of how your words impact others and how to implement positive change.

If you find yourself in any of the situations described above, this article is for you.

Communication can build or decimate worlds and it is important we get it right. Regardless of your professional aspirations or personal goals, you can improve your communication skills if you:

  • Understand your own communication style
  • Tailor your style depending on the needs of the audience
  • Communicate with precision and care
  • Be mindful of your delivery, timing and messenger

1. Understand Your Communication Style

To communicate effectively, you must understand the communication legacy passed down from our parents, grandparents or caregivers. Each of us grew up with spoken and unspoken rules about communication.

In some families, direct communication is practiced and honored. In other families, family members are encouraged to shy away from difficult conversations. Some families appreciate open and frank dialogue and others do not. Other families practice silence about substantive matters, that is, they seldom or rarely broach difficult conversations at all.

Before you can appreciate the nuance required in communication, it helps to know the familial patterns you grew up with.

2. Learn Others Communication Styles

Communicating effectively requires you to take a step back, assess the intended recipient of your communication and think through how the individual prefers to be communicated with. Once you know this, you can tailor your message in a way that increases the likelihood of being heard. This also prevents you from assuming the way you communicate with one group is appropriate or right for all groups or people.

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If you are unsure how to determine the styles of the groups or persons with whom you are interacting, you can always ask them:

“How do you prefer to receive information?”

This approach requires listening, both to what the individuals say as well as what is unspoken. Virgin Group CEO Richard Branson noted that the best communicators are also great listeners.

To communicate effectively from relationship to relationship and situation to situation, you must understand the communication needs of others.

3. Exercise Precision and Care

A recent engagement underscored for me the importance of exercising care when communicating.

On a recent trip to Ohio, I decided to meet up with an old friend to go for a walk. As we strolled through the soccer park, my friend gently announced that he had something to talk about, he was upset with me. His introduction to the problem allowed me to mentally shift gears and prepare for the conversation.

Shortly after introducing the shift in conversation, my friend asked me why I didn’t invite him to the launch party for my business. He lives in Ohio and I live in the D.C. area.

I explained that the event snuck up on me, and I only started planning the invite list three weeks before the event. Due to the last-minute nature of the gathering, I opted to invite people in the DMV area versus my friends from outside the area – I didn’t want to be disrespectful by asking them to travel on such short notice.

I also noted that I didn’t want to be disappointed if he and others declined to come to the event. So I played it safe in terms of inviting people who were local.

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In the moment, I felt the conversation went very well. I also checked in with my friend a few days after our walk, affirmed my appreciation for his willingness to communicate his upset and our ability to work through it.

The way this conversation unfolded exemplified effective communication. My friend approached me with grace and vulnerability. He approached me with a level of curiosity that didn’t put me on my heels — I was able to really listen to what he was saying, apologize for how my decision impacted him and vow that going forward, I would always ask rather than making decisions for him and others.

Our relationship is intact, and I now have information that will help me become a better friend to him and others.

4. Be Mindful of Delivery, Timing and Messenger

Communicating effectively also requires thinking through the delivery of the message one intends to communicate as well as the appropriate time for the discussion.

In an Entrepreneur.com column, VIP Contributor Deep Patel, noted that persons interested in communicating well need to master the art of timing. Patel noted,[1]

“Great comedians, like all great communicators, are able to feel out their audience to determine when to move on to a new topic or when to reiterate an idea.”

Communicating effectively also requires thoughtfulness about the messenger. A person prone to dramatic, angry outbursts should never be called upon to deliver constructive feedback, especially to people whom they do not know. The immediate aftermath of a mass shooting is not the ideal time to talk about the importance of the Second Amendment rights.

Like everyone else, I must work to ensure my communication is layered with precision and care.

It requires precision because words must be carefully tailored to the person with whom you are speaking.

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It requires intentionality because before one communicates, one should think about the audience and what the audience needs in order to hear your message the way you intended it to be communicated.

It requires active listening which is about hearing verbal and nonverbal messages.

Even though we may be right in what we say, how we say it could derail the impact of the message and the other parties’ ability to hear the message.

Communicating with care is also about saying things that the people in our life need to hear and doing so with love.

The Bottom Line

When I left the meeting with my dear friend, I wondered if I was replicating or modeling this level of openness and transparency in the rest of my relationships.

I was intrigued and appreciative. He’d clearly thought about what he wanted to say to me, picked the appropriate time to share his feedback and then delivered it with care. He hit the ball out of the park and I’m hopeful we all do the same.

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Featured photo credit: Kenan Buhic via unsplash.com

Reference

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