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On Behalf of | Dec 20, 2019 | Firm News

Jolene Brackey tells a story that helps us learn some ways to better approach a person living with Dementia. The book, “Creating Moments of Joy “is a story reminding us to be more like the sun:

“There was a sun and a cloud in the sky, and they were fighting over who was the most powerful and the strongest. There was a little boy walking on the sidewalk and the cloud said that whoever gets that jacket off the little boy wins. So, the cloud said, “I’m going first.” The cloud floated over the boy and started to blow. He blew and he blew, trying to blow the jacket off the boy. What did the little boy do? He held on even tighter to the jacket. The cloud blew and blew. Eventually, the cloud lost all his energy. He was tired and couldn’t blow anymore. He turned to the sun and said, “All right, I give up. Give it your best shot.” The sun didn’t move. He just waited and warmed up. He radiated his warmth. He was very patient. The little boy started to sweat. The little boy thought, “It’s getting warm out.” So, the little boy took off his jacket.”

Jolene explains that the moral of the story is whenever you try to force anyone in your life – your spouse, your kids, or the person you are caring for – to do what you want, they hold on even tighter. But if you are more like the sun and radiate your warmth, have some patience, and here’s the kicker – give them a reason they would understand, then they are more likely to cooperate with you. Not always, not every day. You are more likely to get a better reaction if you act more like the sun.

This is so true when caring for someone living with Dementia. The more a person tries to force them into doing something they don’t want to do the harder things become.

Think about your approach, body language, facial expression. 90% of our messages are communicated non-verbally. Even someone living with Dementia can sense when someone is feeling frustration. So, take a step back, take a cleansing breath, and try again. Use a calm, gentle, positive approach and chances are you will get much farther with your loved one.

Communication with a person who has Dementia can be challenging because our general rules of communication do not always work. Each person with the disease will also be unique in what works for them.

Your strategies for communication will need to be continually revised as the disease progresses.

Learning more about your loved one’s specific type of dementia is very important to help in understanding the lost skills and retained skills. This will assist in better understanding why communication needs to be adjusted.