Explain how physical and mental health factors have to be considered when communicating with individuals with dementia. Describe how to support different communication abilities of an individual with dementia who has a sensory impairment.
Dementia is a progressive disease that affects the function of the brain, causing cognitive impairment among other mental functions. This brings with it a whole host of mental symptoms which affect the way people communicate. There are however, many physical impairments people with dementia have, due to various reasons such as old age and individual illnesses. All these factors greatly diminish people's ability to communicate as they loose their ...view middle of the document...
Self-esteem is very much affected when someone is unable to communicate their needs. Sometimes frustration builds up leading to aggressive behaviour and other behaviours that are challenging. When this is considered, communication can be used in the right way to improve an individual’s confidence up.
Challenging behaviour is an important mental health factor caused by dementia which affects how someone communicates and many time caused by inability to do so. Prevention is better that trying to calm someone who is agitated. Good communication methods, tailored for that individual and stipulated in care plans is a very vital form of prevention of mental distress, which normally lead to challenging behaviour.
In some cases dementia leads to depression, where someone totally loses interest in life in general. Again communication can be used to prevent this scenario by keeping someone engaged in their interests and devising ways for them to express themselves. However, some cases cannot be prevented and instead of just relying on medication communication plays a vital role in improving someone’s life on a day-to-day basis.
Memory loss is one of the most prominent symptoms of dementia and plays a very important role in deciding how we communicate with affected individuals. They tend to forget names and they will need ways to remind them of the people they love and others who are important to them. Remembering appointments or recent events is quite common. Understanding memory loss is therefore a necessity when communication with dementia affected individuals. They may lose their very personality due to this, leading to lack of empathy and inhibitions amongst other things. All this will need to be considered when communicating to a dementia affected person.
Dementia affected people may lose a lot of skills which we normally take for granted, such as brushing their teeth, washing and dressing, among others. Staff will then have to adjust their expectations according to each individual’s abilities. Without understanding these things staff would otherwise use the wrong communication methods that may leave individuals patronised and demeaned therefore impacting negatively on their self-esteem.
While memory loss may be a mental consequence of dementia it is very much a physical one as well. Dementia means brain cells are dying progressively, leaving a lot of the changes that occur in an affected person well beyond the control of even the most advanced modern medicines. Other physical symptoms manifest themselves in the form of loss of mobility due to diminished spatial awareness. This can be directly linked to dementia as individuals may lose coordination in their movement, leading to loss of confidence and subsequently stopping any form of mobility altogether. When communicating with someone like this, it is important to consider a positive approach, lots of encouragement and praise for even small achievements.