•  Annette Pecinova  
  •  Saturday, October 21, 2017  
  •   0  
  •  Dementia Care

Interacting or responding to a dementia patient with nonmedical care will have a beneficial effect. Respect plus a friendly, soft tone is what they need; appreciate the most, and you will get through them.

The role of a chaperone in caring for a patient with dementia

If you have family members slipping into dementia, their cognitive impairments and issues often make us forget about their unique personalities, strengths, and experiences in life. Families are finding it difficult to know how to respond to relatives who are beginning to exhibit dementia symptoms, and this is because the unpredictability of the disease brings discomfort or even fear to those who observe it. (*)Seeing family members confused, insecure, and disoriented brings the emotional pain. What we are looking for is the right way to communicate; this is essential to reaching them.

You may have read our previous blog titled “[Therapeutic Lying in Dementia Care].” With this entry, we would like to continue the series and to elaborate on the nonthreatening approach in dementia care, which we see as a subtopic of therapeutic lying.

There is no cure yet, but we can endow patience, presence, care, and overall well-being to a patient

We would also like to highlight and recommend the importance of nonmedical care for dementia patients and geriatric patients. Nonmedical care is a {nonthreatening approach to dementia care} that resonates with and seems authentic to dementia patients by systemically focusing attention on the patient. Promoting health and well-being, creating smiles, and being present are the goals. Regardless of patients’ ability to remember, they possess high sensitivity and can open up when being addressed with a warm, soft tone, whereas a harsh, loud speaking voice could cause their withdrawal.

Seven helpful tips and techniques

  • Always converse with your patients at eye level.
  • Be mindful of your mannerisms, stay at ease, be natural, and approach patients from the front when you begin to engage them so as not to startle them.
  • Keep your responses simple and use short statements. Use simple word choice.
  • Keep in mind that in general, older memories are more accessible to recall than are recent ones. Take a memory trip with patients; reminisce.
  • If they become aggravated or have discomfort, make sure to acknowledge their current feelings and redirect with a new topic or a change of scenery; for example, “Let’s look out the window.
  • Stay at the moment with your patients. Do not become offended if they don’t remember you. They do remember you and understand you’re safe and what is happening is safe—it is dementia that does not recognize you.
  • Practice therapeutic lying. Dementia patients lack short-term memory but can recall a memory from thirty years ago and sometimes believe that is their current reality. Join them on their memory journey; do not disagree with them. Acknowledge them and make them feel what they see as the truth; encourage everyone in the room to join you. For example, when a patient claims, to be waiting for their dad to pick them up, you might ask the patient to have a snack or a glass of water before leaving because the trip may be a long one.

Therapeutic lying in dementia care is a hot topic and is surrounded by heated debate. It is an approach we at Vitae Care highly support and recommend, and we often lecture on it with our clients and at institutions. The step leading up to therapeutic lying is to have a nonthreatening approach when interacting with dementia patients and geriatric patients.