There are several ways to define communication, but one of the best is exchanging information with others. It’s not about you – giving your opinion or stating your feelings. In many ways it boils down to the ability to listen.
At Companion Care we provide ongoing and monthly trainings in practical skills. One of these is communication with clients. This is especially important when there are challenges with cognitive skills or memory that sometime get in the way of clear communication. At any given time 50% of our clients have challenges with dementia and many have hearing loss issues as well.
The ways that our caregivers can meet the needs of their clients include such practices as
- looking directly at the client as they are being spoken to
- projecting the speaking voice clearly without shouting
- being patient
- encouraging clients to express themselves and make their needs known
- eliminating unnecessary background noise
There are times when creativity is called for. A client with short term memory loss may ask a question repetitively and not remember that you have given the answer. That situation may call for “distraction” – getting the client to focus on another subject, for example “what should we make for a snack?”
We go through this kind of scenarios in our caregiver training to help give them some tools to improve everyday communication.