The best thing we can do is to treat everything the person says, however jumbled it may seem, as important and an attempt to tell us something
The person with cognitive impairment cannot change his or her communication; we must change ours
- Give one-step directions
- Speak slowly
- Allow time for response
- Reduce distractions
- Don't have a lot of people talking
- Give clues and cues (gestures, pantomime)
- Speak as if to an equal
- Search for meaning
- Limit corrections
- Recognize feelings and respond
- Don't argue
- Don't try to bring the person to the present. Go to where the person is and enjoy the conversation
- Don't treat like a child
- Stay pleasant and relaxed
- Pay attention to non verbal (body posture, facial expressions)
- Remember it's the quality, not the content or quantity, of the interaction that makes good communication
Tips for Eating Out
- Choose a familiar restaurant
- Go when it is least crowded
- Sit in a quieter area with a minimum of distractions
- Limit choices (discuss what you will order before you get there or even order ahead)
- Order something that is fairly easy to eat and can ask the server to bring the meat cut if possible
- Sit next to your partner and gently guide them
- Try to have just one food item or plate at a time (e.g. salad first with just a fork, then dinner, desert)
- Dine with friends/family who will enjoy being with you and understand your experience
- Don't expect a 5 star 5 course formal dining experience -shorter is better and will lead to less frustration for all involved
- Consider providing a 5 star 5 course experience in the comfort of your home with close friends and family (Order In)
Bathing without a battle
- Explain all actions before doing
- Do not push or force people who are resistant
- Provide positive feedback
- Stay calm and pleasant
- Pay attention to body posture, facial expressions
- Demonstrate the action you want the person to do
- Use one-step directions
- Allow appropriate time for the person to respond
- Follow person's lifetime bathing routines and preferences
- Provide care only when receptive
- Respect refusals to participate in care
- A bath is not an essential intervention
- Encourage self-care to the extent possible
- Make bathroom and shower areas warm and comfortable and safe
- Consider bath chairs, hand-held shower nozzles.
- Be attentive to pain and discomfort
- Towel bathing, bath in a bag supplies, "bird" baths at the sink
Tips for Nutrition
- Serve only one dish at a time.
- Provide only one utensil at a time.
- Consider using a "spork" (combination spoon-fork).
- Serve finger foods such as fried chicken, chicken strips, pizza in
bite-size pieces, fish sticks, sandwiches.
- Serve soup in a mug.
- Remove any hot items or items that should not be eaten.
- Cut up foods before serving.
- Sit next to the person at their level.
- Use hand-over-hand feeding technique to guide self-feeding.
- Demonstrate eating motions that the person can imitate.
- Use verbal cueing and prompting (e.g. take a bite, chew, swallow).
- Use gentle tone of voice, and avoid scolding or demeaning remarks.
- Provide verbal encouragement to participate in eating by talking
about food taste and smell.
- Offer small amounts of fluid between bites.
- Help person focus on the meal at hand; turn off background
noise, remove clutter from the table.
- Avoid patterned dishes or table coverings.
- Use red plates/glasses/cups (research shows that food intake
increased when food was served using high-contrast tableware).
- Use unbreakable dishes that won't slide around (or get plate
- gripper mats).
- Serve smaller more frequent meals rather than expecting the
person to complete a big meal.
- Have food available around the clock