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Why Is Nonverbal Communication Crucial in Dementia Care?

Dementia is a progressive disorder. Even if you have only noticed slight changes in your elderly loved one’s behavior after a dementia diagnosis, there are likely to be further developments over time. Seniors with dementia commonly experience changes in their ability to communicate. Your loved one may have difficulty expressing thoughts and emotions and processing the words you speak. However, using body language instead of words may make a difference in the way your loved one understands each interaction. Toronto dementia care experts discuss a few of the ways nonverbal communication can enhance a senior’s quality of life when managing dementia.

Encourages Self-Expression

One of the most important results of positive nonverbal communication is instilling a sense of trust in the other person. Seniors with dementia often cut their sentences short or refrain from speaking out at all. Looking your loved one in the eyes and placing a hand on his or her arm can help you forge a bond and boost his or her confidence.

Prevents Confusion and Agitation

Anyone who has provided long-term elder care in Toronto for a loved one with dementia knows how much confusion and frustration the disorder can cause. Not only is confusion a major concern for seniors, but many caregivers also find it difficult to keep their emotions out of a conversation. Even small gestures can give your loved one a better grasp of what you are saying. For instance, stand in front of your loved one when speaking so he or she can see your mouth and eyes.

Helps Convey Emotions

Without verbal cues, seniors with dementia may mistake the tone and purpose of a statement. They may feel they are being accused of a wrongdoing or are being tricked. Your body language and facial expressions should always convey your emotions so your loved one can accurately gauge your intent. Failing to do this can easily cause an unnecessary argument after a harmless statement has been made.

Soothes Ailments

Regular physical contact can even help soothe the chronic pain and discomfort many seniors with dementia experience. According to the National Institutes of Health, physically touching a senior stimulates the production of oxytocin. This vital hormone lowers stress levels, reduces pain, and increases blood flow.

Nonverbal communication can also be an important aspect of participating in brain-boosting activities. At Home Care Assistance, we provide an activities-based program called the Cognitive Therapeutics Method, which helps slow cognitive decline and delay the onset of dementia. This program is available free of charge with any of our care plans, which include help with various tasks like cooking, grooming, and exercise. For more information on the dementia and Alzheimer’s home care Toronto families trust, call one of our qualified Care Managers at (416) 488-8777.