My father is an 86 year old man with dementia. We have big problems with establishing a good conversation because he gets angry and agitated. What can I do?
LEARNING HOW TO TALK WITH A PERSON WHO HAS DEMENTIA
People with Dementia have communication and memory deficits. They might be disturbed by hallucinations or impaired by additional cognitive disturbances of a depressive syndrome. These people need special care and a calm and structured environment!
Identify yourself by name and call the person by name. Don't get frustrated if the person (even your mother or father) is not able to remember your name.
Keep eye contact and try to approach the person from the front. A gentle touch is very helpful!
Try to avoid background sounds or other communications and visual distractions (TV).
Use short sentences and very familiar words and expressions.
Ask simple questions which can be answered with yes or no.
Use gestures and maybe additional written information or pictures.
Try to establish signals for special tasks (e.g. going to the toilet or having a bath).
Keep the conversation short!
However, if you feel the person gets frustrated and cannot follow the conversation, stop it and try again after a rest.