Memory impairment can be scary and stressful for both the person experiencing symptoms and for the caregiver.
Laura Wayman, known as The Dementia Whisperer, has dedicated her life to giving meaning and purpose to those diagnosed with dementia or memory impairment. It is Laura’s mission to promote a greater understanding of dementia symptoms and to change how care services are provided to those who experience them.
“Becoming dementia-aware will help you to change your care approach and have more meaningful moments with people who have dementia moments,” said Laura.
Laura shares the following strategies that can help someone better connect, engage and communicate with a person who has dementia:
- Thinking for the person
Anticipate their needs and the dementia-related challenges inherent in the process of trying to meet those needs.
- Avoid asking questions
Unless the questions are about memories they might like to share, asking questions can sometimes only cause more confusion.
- Only give them information they can handle
Most caregivers have a good idea of what kind of information might overload their loved one with dementia symptoms. Sometimes it can help to just be more mindful of this.
- Use Positive Action Statements
For example, change “Do you want to come to dinner?” to the more positive “Come with me. I like when we have dinner together!”
- Join them in their feelings
Perhaps one of the more powerful strategies is to join them in their journey. Instead of trying to correct them, respond in a way that makes them feel heard and validated.
Laura visited Wesley Bradley Park to share more details on how to fully implement strategies to become more dementia-aware. Her goal is to help people understand how to manage dementia-related symptoms and, in doing so, how to create much more positive interactions.
“Accept them for who they are now. You can’t stop, fix, or change dementia. You can, however, learn to manage the symptoms and join them in their feelings for a more enjoyable relationship,” said Laura.
A Conversation with The Dementia Whisperer
This event has passed. You can watch a recording of it here: