1. Explain how individuals with dementia may communicate through their behaviour.
Dementia sufferers communicate in many different ways. They may not be able to speak but they can communicate non-verbally with positive or negative behaviour. They can also communicate using body language and through posture. One service user who was blind was hard to settle, because he couldn’t see it was hard to communicate, he was unable to express himself verbally and he was very anxious and depressed. He had moved from Bala where he was brought up many years ago but he still thought that he lived in Bala and got anxious because he thought he was in someone else’s house, so what we used to do was take him out in the car and drive around the block and then come back in, and only then would he calm down and we could tell by his body language that he was less anxious and his behaviour changed.
2. Give examples of how carers and others may misinterpret communication.
Aggressive/ bad behaviour may be misinterpreted by someone who doesn’t know the individual very well. The answer may be as simple as sitting in the wrong seat. The individual may also lash out because they are in pain; they may become aggressive because they are in so much pain and cannot tell you, which in turn can lead to frustration.
3. Explain the importance of effective communication to an individual with dementia.
Communicating with a person with dementia can be very difficult. In the early stages of dementia individuals have trouble finding the words to express their thoughts or wishes, and are unable to remember the meaning of simple words. But as the disease progresses it becomes more difficult as the language skills become impaired, which makes it very difficult to understand what they are trying to say. Positive communication can help a person with dementia to maintain their dignity and self esteem. Giving the right attitude and using the right forms of communication will help the process. Be patient, listen and allow enough time for a person to respond. Effective communication can also reduce anxiety because they feel relaxed; they feel that someone understands them, reinforcing their identity. It is also a way of providing choices and boosting self esteem. When someone has dementia they feel isolated, good communication skills bring more social interaction and makes the individual feel more valued. When a carer gets to know the individual they will be able to pick up all the forms of communication used and they will connect, which leads to the individual feeling listened to which then leads to the individual feeling valued and reinforcing their identity.
4. Describe how different forms of dementia may affect the way an individual communicates.
Alzheimer’s gradually diminishes a person’s ability to communicate, they tend to repeat stories, or are not be able to remember a word, use familiar words repeatedly, invent new words to describe familiar objects, have difficulty organising words logically or have dysphasia.
Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) is a rapidly fatal disorder that impairs memory and coordination and causes behaviour changes. They have slurred speech, disinterest, apathy and lack of motivation.
Fronto-temporal lobe dementia. The frontal and temporal lobes play an important role in our ability to communicate they are responsible for our control and regulation of communication. Early stage shows speech impairment and disinhibishion.
Korsakoff’s syndrome have the ability to make up stories and they have little awareness of their condition. Their short term memory is affected as the alcohol has destroyed the brain cells.
Parkinson’s dementia is not very common due to medication control but the speech is impaired and can be difficult to diagnose.
Vascular dementia different parts of the brain are affected so they can have all the symptoms or none.
1. Give examples of positive...