Seniors with Dementia: Do They Understand Things?

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As dementia progresses, comprehending conversations, understanding directions, and communicating become difficult, and seniors rely on others more. Seniors with dementia can have good days and bad days, and your aging loved one may understand you correctly in the morning but not be able to keep up in the afternoon. Continue reading to learn how dementia impacts a senior’s memory and cognitive health and what you can do to make daily life less stressful for your aging loved one. 

Consider Your Loved One’s Cognitive Function

Dementia can make it difficult to understand complex words, phrases, and ideas. You may begin to notice your loved one taking longer to process thoughts or comprehend what you say. These are issues that impact the ability to have discussions with others. The type of dementia your parent has will determine how he or she communicates and what he or she can understand. In the beginning stages, the confusion may be minimal, but it generally worsens in the middle and late stages of the condition. 

If your senior loved one has been diagnosed with a serious condition and needs help with tasks like meal prep, transportation, bathing, and grooming, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of senior care families can trust. We also offer comprehensive care for seniors with dementia, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s.

Use Nonverbal Clues

By maintaining eye contact and smiling, you can let your parent know you’re in a good mood, whereas frowning could be a sign of trouble. Point in the direction of a person, place, or object to help your parent understand what you’re trying to say. For instance, if you ask if your loved one is hungry, he or she may not understand the question. However, nonverbal clues, such as putting a fork to your mouth, could provide a clear picture and prevent confusion or frustration. 

Limit Distractions & Remain Patient

Sounds from the radio, television, or conversations taking place in another room could distract your parent and make it difficult to process what you’re saying. Dementia affects the ability to focus on one thing, which is why you should remove background noises when speaking to your loved one. Take your time and allow your loved one to respond before moving on or answering the question for him or her. If your loved one feels rushed, he or she could lash out with verbal and physical attacks, such as screaming, spitting, kicking, or hitting. 

Caring for a senior loved one can be challenging for families who don’t have expertise or professional training in home care, but this challenge doesn’t have to be faced alone. Family caregivers can turn to University Park Home Care Assistance for the help they need. We provide high-quality live-in and respite care as well as comprehensive Alzheimer’s, dementia, stroke, and Parkinson’s care.

Don’t Lecture Your Loved One

Your parent may not understand what you’re saying and respond incorrectly. Practice active listening. If you’re unsure of what your loved one has said, be polite and ask him or her to repeat the words. However, don’t correct your parent. Pointing out what your loved one did wrong could increase the odds of aggression and cause him or her to withdraw from future conversations. The objective is to simplify your communication methods and make it easier for your parent to understand. Give your loved one more compliments each day, and praise him or her when he or she does something good, regardless of how big or small it is. 

If you’re looking for reliable dementia care, University Park Home Care Assistance offers high-quality at-home care for seniors who are managing the challenges of cognitive decline. We offer a revolutionary program called the Cognitive Therapeutics Method (CTM), which uses mentally stimulating activities to boost cognitive health in the elderly. CTM has proven to help seniors with dementia regain a sense of pride and accomplishment and learn how to engage with others in an enjoyable way. If you need professional care for your loved one, reach out to one of our Care Managers today at (214) 363-3400.


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