Company coming? The following suggestions will put visitors at ease as well as make the experience as pleasant as possible for your loved one with severe-stage dementia.
Suggest that visitors gently touch the person with dementia before they start to speak. Touch is a powerful communicator, even when language skills are diminishing. A gentle pat to the back or knee a few seconds before "hello" cues the person's attention and, more helpfully, reduces the odds of starting the visit off on a startled, panicked, or irritated note.
Remind visitors that hearing is not directly affected by dementia. Some people have a tendency to raise their voices and even shout when talking to the infirm. Not necessary!
Encourage conversation about the weather, mutual friends, any topic that feels natural -- with the reminder that it might be a one-sided conversation if your loved one doesn't have many verbal skills.
Forewarn visitors against quizzing your loved one or asking many "do you remember?" questions. The goal is to begin and end with a warm, happy mood. Any exchanges of actual information should be incidental plusses, not necessities.
SEE ALSO: Find Memory Care Near You