Interacting with memory care patients is a task that requires patience, understanding, and a compassionate outlook on the caregiver's part. For healthcare workers, it is important to remember that a certain mindset should be utilized when speaking with memory care patients to best reach them. Here are a few things to remember when speaking with a memory care patient and a few ways in which to make each interaction more meaningful.
Maintaining an air of positivity will help set the tone of the interaction and allow the flow of the conversation to become more agreeable. When speaking with a patient, be sure to stay in a positive mood and speak or ask questions with a friendly and upbeat tone. This tone will help patients become more drawn to what they are hearing and will be more likely to interact with others rather than shutting down. Staying positive will also help caregivers keep an encouraging mindset even when interactions do not go as planned. Patients can usually pick up on the general tone of a conversation and will be encouraged to continue with the interaction.
Keep it Simple
Patients who are suffering from memory issues such as dementia may find extensive conversations exhausting or confusing. Keeping the interaction as simple as possible is the way to go and asking straightforward and easy-to-comprehend questions will help patients open up. Rather than asking what the patient would like for breakfast, for example, asking specifically if they would like eggs with toast or cereal gives fewer choices. Patients will find it easier to choose from a smaller set of choices such as this and also respond extremely well to basic yes or no questions. Asking if the patient is tired and would like a nap, for instance, is an example of a question that would produce a yes or no response.
Be Patient and Try Something New
There may be times when patients appear to withdraw or become agitated during interactions. A helpful first step in this situation is for the caregiver to stay as calm as possible and continue to practice patience. Though the situation may be stressful to the patient, they may simply need another method to help open up. Sometimes, offering a distraction can allow patients to focus on other things and less on what may be triggering an emotional response in them. Suggesting taking a walk outside to get fresh air, for instance, can be just what the patient needs to get their mind of a cycle of disruptive or repetitive thoughts. Acknowledging feelings beforehand will also allow patients to hear that their experiences are both valid and considered by others.
For more information, contact local memory care facilities.