Good communication is not just about what you say: it’s about how you say it and where the conversation takes place.
As it’s coming up to my two year anniversary of working alongside the Empowered Conversations team, I thought I’d take some time to explore the most interesting and surprising things I have discovered whilst learning more about dementia….
The Empowered Conversations workshops have taught me that effective communication is not only determined by what you say, but also how you say it and the place in which a conversation occurs.
Seemingly insignificant environmental aspects such as the colours/patterns on a wall can greatly impact on a person with dementia’s ability to concentrate; if a pattern is too colourful they may be fairly distracted.
I also learned of the significance of body language when talking with people with dementia: if you are facing the individual you are speaking to rather than at the side of them they are more likely to have a clearer grasp and be less frightened by what you are saying.
Additionally, as common sense as this may sound, it is also much easier to communicate with someone effectively if you don’t have any unnecessary background noise such as a TV or radio – quiet environments are key.