Tips for Communicating With Dementia Residents in Nursing Homes in Atlanta, GA
Dementia is hard on the whole family. Your loved one stops remembering recent events or seems generally confused. Caring for an elderly loved one with dementia, or even just visiting a dementia patient at an Atlanta nursing home, can be stressful, especially if you consistently have to remind them of past events.
The nursing home abuse lawyers at Pope & Howard, P.C. in Atlanta, GA, understand the difficulties of caring for a dementia patient, especially if you suspect they may be victims of elder abuse and cannot recall instances of abuse.
It’s important to visit relatives in nursing homes, but even more important to visit loved ones in nursing homes who may have trouble communicating. The nursing home abuse lawyers at Pope & Howard are sharing tips for communicating in a more effective way with dementia patients. Learn more about dementia patients and how to spot signs of abuse below.
How to Best Speak to Dementia Patients in Nursing Homes
It’s always important to encourage your loved ones in nursing homes to communicate with you. When speaking with dementia patients, take care with your words, and speak clearly and slowly, using short sentences.
You should make eye contact with your friend or loved one and give he or she ample time to answer any questions you may be asking. Don’t act frustrated or exasperated or try to pressure them to answer more quickly, as that could lead to a breakdown in communication.
Acknowledge what they’ve said or asked, even if they ask the same question over and over. If the question they are asking is about a traumatic event, try to steer them in a different direction so you don’t have to stay on an upsetting topic.
Keep things simple overall; don’t ask complicated questions.
In a group setting, try to get them to engage with others, like during mealtimes at the nursing home. It will help to have them communicate with others they are around more often.
Using Body Language
Communication isn’t always oral; gestures, movement and facial expressions are also extremely important when trying to interact with nursing home patients. If friends or loved ones in a nursing home can’t use their words, use body language to make them feel comfortable and reassured. Hold their hands, for example, or put your arms around their shoulders. Sit next to them rather than across from them, smiling and staying calm. Sometimes, just being patient and nearby is enough to put a dementia person at ease.
Signs of Abuse in Dementia Patients
Since dementia causes confusion and memory issues, many dementia patients are targets of abuse. You cannot just ask your loved ones if they are being abused because they may not remember what is happening to them. You will need to look for signs of abuse and keep a record of what you are seeing.
Physical Abuse of Dementia Patients in Nursing Homes
Some common signs of physical abuse in dementia patients are injuries that don’t make sense, broken glasses or other objects, and medication shortages or overages. If your loved one is showing strange bruises or burns that cannot be accounted for, then he or she may be a victim of abuse.
If you notice your loved one losing weight or showing signs of malnutrition or developing bedsores and new medical ailments, then they are likely being neglected. Other signs include being dressed inappropriately for the weather or suddenly appearing to have poor hygiene.
Abuse With Medications
Similarly, if you are refilling your loved one’s prescriptions and they seem to go through the medications faster than usual, then they may be getting overdoses. Similarly, if you notice that there are still pills in the bottle when your loved one is due for a refill, the abuse your loved one may be suffering is the deliberate withholding of medication.
Financial Abuse in Georgia Nursing Homes
Dementia patients are also more susceptible to financial abuse. A very common sign to look out for is the addition of a new authorized user on your loved one’s account. Another common sign of financial abuse is a sudden change in spending habits, especially if there are penalties being ignored that would put them further in debt.
How Pope & Howard Can Help
If you have noticed any of these warning signs of abuse, then you need to reach out to an experienced Georgia nursing home abuse attorney to discuss your options and figure out how to proceed with your case.
Pope & Howard has the proven track record of getting justice for clients. This law firm cares about its clients, offering compassionate representation for victims of abuse and their families. Pope & Howard, based in Buckhead, has the resources to make your loved one’s confusion or inability to recall events a non-issue in your case. With their years of trial experience, they will get your loved one properly cared for and just compensation for injuries and sufferings. Contact the team today for a free consultation.