Tips for Visiting Someone with Middle-stage Dementia

Written by Active Minds on Saturday the 7th of November 2015.

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The mid-stages of dementia can be both the longest and the hardest, when you might find that your loved one starts to experience mood swings, difficulties with communication, disorientation, delusions or hallucinations, and might start to need more help with everyday physical tasks.

If you’re visiting a loved one with middle-stage dementia, it’s a good idea to keep the following things in mind.

Be Prepared

It’s during this period that people living with dementia can find themselves starting to lose the ability to recognise friends and family. They might also become withdrawn, depressed, angry, or aggressive. This can be stressful, frightening and upsetting for both the person with dementia and for those visiting them so try to prepare yourself for what you might expect during any visit

Be Ready to Communicate

People with middle-stage dementia might experience trouble with communication so it’s important to be ready and willing to help them if they need it. When you arrive, make sure any distractions are limited before you enter into conversation; turn down the radio or turn off the TV, for example. If you have noticed your loved one having trouble recognising people, start by introducing yourself and anyone you’ve brought with you to save them embarrassment or confusion. Try not to correct them or ask too many questions. If needs be, you can even use communication aids that can be pointed at or used as reminders.

Be Patient

Middle-stage dementia can be tough for everyone but patience and sensitivity are the best way to approach any visit, especially if it’s on a bad day. If a person with dementia makes a mistake or gets something wrong, try not to disagree or argue with them. Instead, change the topic or try to distract them with something else; reminiscence activities can be particularly comforting. Try to be sensitive to your loved ones’ needs and make changes where necessary, especially if you sense their mood changing or that they are becoming upset or agitated. For example, too many visitors might be overwhelming or distressing so keep an eye on them and watch out for physical and emotional signals that they might have trouble communicating through speech.