If you’re a caregiver for a loved one with dementia, you may find that communication sometimes can present challenges. Attempting to communicate about even simple things like meals can end in unexpected agitation or hostility.
Fortunately, there are proven methods you can use to effectively communicate with your loved one. For example, keeping distractions, noise and confusion to a minimum can help.
The BridgeHaven Learning Series
Communication techniques are among the topics discussed as part of the BridgeHaven Learning Series: Alzheimer’s and Related Dementia. The series, presented by Elder Care Alliance, focuses on “engaging hearts, transforming lives and erasing boundaries” between Alzheimer’s patients and their loved ones.
The series includes two upcoming presentations, both at Oakland Public Library — Eastmont Branch at Eastmont Town Center, 7200 Bancroft Ave. #211, Oakland, Calif., 94605.
On Monday, March 6, from 5:30-6:45 p.m., the topic is “Dementia, Art and Creativity.” The session focuses on how the arts can empower people with dementia to engage in multiple methods of creative expression to maximize physical and emotional wellness. Participants will explore case studies that involve the impact of sculpture, poetry, painting and other forms of art.
On Monday, April 3, from 5:30-6:45 p.m., attendees will learn about “Creating a Dementia-Inclusive Society.” This session asks how citizens — as business owners, residents and representatives of civic agencies — can transform communities to help individuals affected by dementia become more socially integrated and engaged.
Helpful Words for Dementia Patients
Effective communication with an individual who has Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia often begins with identifying yourself and saying the person’s name.
In addition, experts say, don’t quiz your loved one with questions such as, “What did you have for lunch today, Mom?” Since dementia often affects short-term memory, putting someone on the spot with questions can cause frustration. Loved ones of patients with dementia also can use four helpful words to improve communication: “I need your help.”
Our Speaker: Sean Caulfield
Memory Care Specialist Sean Caulfield, of Elder Care Alliance, served as director of the I’m Still Here Foundation, where he created programs serving dementia patients at arts and cultural institutions around the United States.
If you’d like to find out more about memory care services in the Oakland area, please contact Mercy Retirement & Care Center.