Dementia and Communication
This chapter will cover the important question of communicating with people who have dementia. Too often, because people with dementia do not use language the way we do, we fail to listen to what they are saying and to work out what they are really trying to communicate. It is easy to forget that real communication involves active listening and careful observation of body language. It doesn't just mean talking to (or at) another person.
Much of the chapter will be devoted to making sense of what people with Alzheimer's disease are really saying. Most of the practical examples referred to will come from Jane Crisp's experience with people with dementia, especially her own mother.
- Taking a positive attitude to communication
- Using voice and body to communicate
- Making sense of what people with Alzheimer's say
- Stories are constructed to suit a particular interaction
- Stories about our life proclaim our identity and worth
- Stories have thematic and metaphoric meanings
- Although accepting such stories may seem contrary to reality orientation, remember that human interaction is a more basic need than knowing what year it is
- Stories as a means of maintaining identity