2Sisters Speak: Surviving the Sandwich Generation- Episode 38

Improvisation in Dementia Care

Validating, redirecting, using therapeutic fibs, and empathic listening are some of the most common techniques used to successfully communicate with someone who has dementia. Each of these techniques requires us to think on our feet, and go with the flow.

Communication with someone who has dementia is outcome-based. What is the objective of what we are communicating? Are we trying to get them to perform a particular task? Are we trying to minimize their agitation? Improve the quality of their day? There are many ways to accomplish each of these things, but it is almost never by expecting them to enter present reality.

Three key takeaways from this episode:

  1. Validation therapy, versus reality orientation, is the correct approach to communicate with someone who has dementia.
  2. The phrase: “Yes, And”, is more than two words simply strung together. It is a state of mind. The basic concept is that we are up for anything, and will go along with whatever might be thrown our way. Essentially, we don’t use the word “No” very often.
  3. Therapeutic fibs are little white lies that can be used to prevent unnecessary distress for someone with dementia.

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