People living with dementia (PLWD) have challenges with verbal communication: language comprehension, speech production, and vocabulary. But they are not unconscious to what is going on around them. Even as the brain declines, emotional intelligence is preserved. PLWD take in data visually rather than auditorily and react to what they think is happening. As caregivers we must remember that PLWD are really doing the best they can with the abilities they have left.
Try not to expect them to be the way they used to be. Accept them for who they are now and who they’re becoming. Promote independence by encouraging participation in meaningful activities. We all want to feel “of use” in this crazy world and PLWD are no different.
The feelings they may find hard to express are captured in this poem, inspired by a dementia patient.