“It’s on the tip of my tongue.” We hear it all the time in casual conversation, but for people with dementia, it can be a persistent and irritating problem. Dementia can make it difficult for people to communicate normally – especially tragic for those accustomed to being the most articulate person in the room, or for those who know multiple languages. In later stage dementia, those affected can have trouble expressing their basic challenges, such as pain, hunger or thirst – leading to irritation and even aggression when those problems remain unaddressed.
For this kind of situation, our at-home dementia care professionals follow a simple protocol called ABDE. Here’s how it works:
A. Allow Time. Communicating with someone with dementia takes patience. They have diminished capacity, but you don’t. Take the time to understand them.
B. Back Off. “If you insist, they will resist.” They will be more cooperative at a later time. Make sure they have everything they need and adapt to the situation.
D. Distract. A person with dementia can abruptly show anxiety or irritation in certain situations, such as when you are bathing them, or taking them to a doctor. Reminisce with them, calling them back to a positive memory in their past that they can hang on to – and this will mitigate the anxiety they feel.
E. Enter Their World. This is the most important – and hardest, thing for a loved one to do. Your mother-in-law is calling you by her daughter’s name? Telling you they’re somewhere different than where they are? The truth is that their reality is their reality. Don’t contradict them. Let them interact normally with you, with no argument – you’ll avoid a lot of needless antagonism.
By following these rules and providing professional dementia care, our people have seen amazing improvements in their clients’ situations. Check out our case studies and see what our clients have been able to accomplish with loving care.