Helping a loved one communicate
- Be positive and avoid criticising and correcting. Try to remain calm and adapt a positive approach.
- Focus on feelings instead of facts. You can respond to what you think they feel or mean rather than focusing on their mistakes.
- Do not rush for an answer, give the person some time to think about what he or she wants to say.
- If you haven’t fully understood what they are saying, you can respond with what you have understood to see if you are right or ask them to point and use gestures.
- Stay close to them, but respect their personal space. It is often good to be at the same or bellow their eye level to help the person feel in control.
- Do not exclude them from conversations with friends and family
Tips for your communication
- Pay attention to your non-verbal communication. Your facial expressions, gestures and touch are equally important to verbal communication.
- Speak clearly and slowly, try to keep the natural rhythm of your speech.
- Use positive instead of negative statements, instead of telling them what they shouldn’t do, suggest or show what they should.
- Make eye contact
- Avoid too difficult questions, it is better to ask closed questions that are simple and straightforward.
- Avoid quizzing them by saying “do you remember when..?”
- Talk to a person, rather than about them to others and avoid speaking as if the person wasn’t there. Also avoid talking to the person as you would to a young child. It is all a matter of treating them with respect.
- Avoid arguing, as it in most cases will only make things worse.
- If the person is “living” in the old days, then talk about the old days.