Unit 4222-243 (Dem 210)

Unit 4222-243 understand and enable interaction and communication with individuals with dementia.

We all need to communicate with other people. Communicating our needs, wishes and feelings, not only to maintain our quality of life, but also to preserve our sense of identity.
We tend to think of communication as talking, but in fact it consists of much more than that. A large proportion of our communication is non-verbal, which takes place through gestures, facial expressions and touch. Non-verbal communication is particularly important when a person with dementia is losing their language skills. This may also mean that a person with dementia behaves in ways that those caring for them find difficult and this may be because they are trying to communicate something.

Difficulties with language occur in all forms of dementia but the particular problems experienced by a person will vary according to the type of dementia and level of disability they have. For example, in fronto-temporal dementia it may be the first symptom that a person develops. In many instances, language skills will vary from day to day and time to time. Make the most of 'good' days and learn to cope with the 'bad' ones.
An early sign that someone's language is being affected by dementia is that they can't find the right words – particularly the names of people. The person may substitute an incorrect word, or may not find any word at all. There may come a time when the person can hardly communicate accurately or successfully through language. This may be distressing for their loved ones, but it's a normal aspect of their memory loss.
Other factors may also affect the ability of a person with dementia to communicate – including pain, discomfort, illness or the side-effects of medication.
Difficulties with communication can be upsetting and frustrating for the person with dementia and for those around them, but there are lots of ways to help make sure that you understand each other.