Blog Hero

How to Speak to a Parent with Dementia

Schedule a Visit
a woman hugs her mother who has dementia

As your parents age, there can be some challenges that you can help them overcome. Dementia is one of these challenges that can appear with age. An important step is finding your loved ones the right community and lifestyle to meet their unique needs.

Let’s look at how dementia can affect your parents and how you can speak to them to make it easier to manage.

A Closer Look at Dementia

Dementia is a group of symptoms that affect memory, thinking, and social abilities. Dementia is caused by damage to or loss of nerve cells and their connections to the brain. Among those at least 65 years of age, there were an estimated 5 million adults with dementia in 2014, with a projection of 14 million by 2060. 

Some common cognitive signs and symptoms of dementia include:

  • Memory loss
  • Difficulty communicating or finding words
  • Struggling with visual and spatial abilities
  • Having trouble with planning and organizing
  • Confusion and disorientation

While dementia is associated with memory loss, it’s not the sole symptom. Dementia can also cause psychological changes such as: 

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Personality changes
  • Agitation
  • Paranoia

A memory care lifestyle can be ideal for your parents dealing with dementia to help elevate their quality of life and provide the dedicated support they need.

How Memory Care Helps

Memory care is all about enriching your loved ones’ lives and helping them feel engaged, comfortable, and respected. Memory care keeps your parents’ comfort in mind and offers: 

  • Engagement for positive cognitive support
  • Meaningful activities to stimulate brain functions
  • Strengthening activities for walking and balance
  • Fully furnished apartments

Along with this dedicated support, your loved one will be able to enjoy a wide variety of amenities and services to help them feel at home, such as: 

  • 24-hour personal care
  • Regular physician visits
  • Medication management and assistance
  • Programming and activities
  • Professional and highly-trained staff.

A memory care lifestyle can help ensure your loved one’s needs are met, and their comfort is prioritized. 

a man sits with his parent with dementia in a memory care community

Speaking to a Parent with Dementia

Communicating with a parent that has dementia can be challenging and require some creativity. It’s important to keep a consistent line of communication so let’s explore some tips to help make the process easier.

Patience Is Key

Dementia can be frustrating to navigate and manage. Your parent may have trouble communicating, so patience is crucial when speaking to your parents.

Take the time to listen and allow your loved one to talk without interruptions to express themselves fully. 

Repeat Yourself if Needed

Dementia can cause your parent to have trouble finding the right words or stumble over words and skew the meaning of what they’re trying to say.

You can help by repeating yourself over and over until your loved one can understand what you’re trying to say.

Incorporate Visual Communication Methods

Later stages of dementia can cause even further cognitive decline, so visual cues can help your loved one understand better than words.

For example, rather than asking if your loved one needs to use the bathroom, you can walk them to it and point at the toilet or shower. The same process can be followed if they’re hungry or need something else.

Keep Things Simple

As dementia progresses, using shorter sentences and keeping things simple with visual communication is essential. Questions that require a yes or no answer can ease some stress on your parent.

Breaking down requests into single steps that are easy to follow can also help keep your loved one comfortable.

Communication Is Key

Keeping things simple when communicating with a parent with dementia is essential. As the disease progresses, your loved ones can have trouble expressing themselves, and your patience can help them feel comfortable. Finding the right community for their unique needs can make all the difference.

Schedule a visit with professionals to learn more about your loved ones’ new community.

Ryan Donahue

Written by Ryan Donahue, Regional Vice President

More Articles By Ryan Donahue, Regional Vice President
instagram facebook facebook2 pinterest twitter google-plus google linkedin2 yelp youtube phone location calendar share2 link star-full star star-half chevron-right chevron-left chevron-down chevron-up envelope fax