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Tips and Tools for Better Communication: Offering Choice in Conversation

When working with a client or loved one living with memory loss, do you often hear the word “No” more than “Yes”? It can cause distress when you hope to engage or motivate someone but not get the response you expected, or get no response at all.

Open-ended questions can work well when establishing a dialogue. However, you can rephrase your questions and allow your client to express themselves best by providing a controlled choice . By doing this, you provide them the opportunity to make their own choices, which promotes their independence as well as providing the quality care they need.

Tips & Tools:

Here are some tips that can improve communication, enhance relationships, and establish a better connection with your client and/or loved one. If a person living with dementia can learn new things, so can you!


 

Practice:

Practice these techniques 3 times a day and see if you notice a difference in how many responses you get. Use this technique when providing personal care or during meal times. This will empower the person so they can be the one in control of their decision making.

For example: “Would you like to wear the striped shirt or the floral shirt?” and show them both. Watch carefully, because a person can respond to you verbally and non-verbally. Pay close attention to their hands and disposition; their eyes, as well as their words. Be yourself when communicating with them, be genuine, wear your smile, make eye contact, and validate that you heard them. Your connection and trust will build even more.

Posted by Jodie Berman in Alzheimer's & Dementia



Written by Jodie Berman Jodie Berman

Jodie Berman is the Director of Programs and Engagement for True Care’s True Memory Care program. Jodie is a recreational therapist who specializes in providing non-pharmacological, Montessori-inspired approaches to engaging people living with Alzheimer’s and other dementia-related diagnoses; improving their quality of life through meaningful and stimulating forms of expression.