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How to Support a Non-Verbal Loved One: Tips and Information for Caregivers

Living with dementia can be challenging for both the individual affected and their caregivers. One of the changes that can occur as dementia progresses is the loss of verbal communication. When your elderly loved one with dementia becomes non-verbal, it can be difficult to understand their needs and provide them with the care they require. In this blog post, we will explore some tips and helpful information to assist you in supporting your loved one in their non-verbal state.

Group of seniors learning with visual aides

1. Non-verbal communication cues:

When your loved one is no longer able to communicate through words, it becomes crucial to pay attention to their non-verbal cues. These cues can include facial expressions, body language, gestures, and changes in behaviour. By observing and interpreting these cues, you can gain insight into their needs and emotions.

2. Establish a routine:

Creating a consistent daily routine can help your loved one feel more secure and comfortable. Routines provide a sense of familiarity and can reduce confusion and anxiety. Try to maintain regular mealtimes, bedtime routines, and activities that your loved one enjoys. This predictability can bring a sense of stability to their daily life.

3. Use visual cues:

Visual cues can be powerful tools for communication when words fail. Use pictures, gestures, or written words to convey simple messages or instructions. For example, you can create a visual schedule showing daily activities or use labelled drawers or cabinets to help your loved one find specific items. Visual cues can help them understand and navigate their environment more easily.

Ideal Caregivers 4u has created some communication cards for you to start using today! Simply click on the link below to download your free copy.

_Communication Cards
Download PDF • 301KB

4. Maintain a calm and soothing environment:

People with dementia can become easily overwhelmed by loud noises, clutter, or busy environments. Creating a calm and soothing environment can help reduce agitation and improve their overall well-being. Keep the living space organized and free of unnecessary distractions. Soft lighting, familiar music, and comfortable seating can also contribute to a peaceful atmosphere.

5. Engage in sensory activities:

Sensory activities can stimulate your loved one's senses and provide them with a means of expressing themselves. Simple activities like listening to music, touching different textures, or smelling pleasant scents can evoke positive emotions and enhance their quality of life. Experiment with different sensory experiences to find what brings them joy and comfort.

6. Seek professional help and support:

Caring for someone with dementia can be emotionally and physically demanding. Remember to take care of yourself and seek support when needed. Reach out to support groups or organizations specializing in dementia care for guidance and advice. Professional caregivers or home health aides can also provide valuable assistance, giving you the opportunity to take breaks and recharge.

7. Be patient and compassionate:

Above all, it is crucial to approach your loved one with patience, understanding, and compassion. Non-verbal individuals with dementia may become frustrated, anxious, or agitated due to their inability to express themselves. By maintaining a calm and supportive attitude, you can help them feel safe and loved.

Caring for a non-verbal loved one with dementia can be challenging, but with these tips and a bit of creativity, you can enhance their quality of life and strengthen your relationship. Remember, every person with dementia is unique, so it's essential to tailor your approach to their specific needs and preferences.


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