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With dementia it can take as long as 45 seconds to process what was said or asked. Saying what allows time to process as well as making sure the words they heard were what was actually said.
Also when repeating the question it might be phrased differently making it easier to understand.
Always face a person you are talking to so they can read and interpret what you are saying and see facial cues. (very difficult for facilities if staff is wearing masks, clear masks are better)
Do not raise your voice as a matter of fact try lowering the pitch of your voice and talk clearly and slowly.
Keep questions brief and limit options. "mom do you want a tuna sandwich, a chicken sandwich or soup" might be a bit much so try "mom do you want tuna sandwich on white bread or whole wheat" might be easier way to get an answer.
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Reply to Grandma1954
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My mom is very hard of hearing and also has dementia. She habitually says huh or what whenever I say anything and it’s annoying. I have a soft voice so I try to really speak up and also say “Mom” or “listen” or “are you listening?” and pause and make eye contact before I start talking. It’s frustrating but I can see she is struggling both to hear and comprehend
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Reply to Katybee
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Yes. Saying "what" simply gives them a few more seconds to figure out what others are talking about and how to respond. It's aggravating when it's all the time, but I think it's just that simple in many cases - provided that a legit hearing problem does not actually exist.
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Reply to Mysteryshopper
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