Blogs » Providing Care and Comfort for Your Aging Loved One » Effective communication skills-Diamond

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When dealing with a Diamond, make a plan. Avoid confronting your loved one head on about anything. Frustration, sadness, aggravation, and a lack of patience with the situation can make it nearly impossible to have effective communication when dealing with issues in the moment. Instead, create a team, a partnership of family members and or friends to think the issue through and then make a plan.

The first thing to do is to pick the person best suited to speak to the Diamond. Who will be the “friend” to listen to the reactions and concerns AFTER the meeting and then over and over again? Who is the authority figure? This would not be the person to address the topic with a Diamond.

A Diamond needs a friend, not a boss. A boss will receive push back and anger. A friend can address the issue without offending, embarrassing or bossing. An authority person may vary from topic to topic. Once you have that worked out you then have to think about your Diamond. Who are they? What do they value? What has changed for them? What is working for them in this moment? Who do they think well of and trust in this moment? (This person may vary day to day.) What does this particular issue mean to them? (Example loss of independence if they no longer drive, loss of their privacy to have someone come into their home and assist them.)

Once you have those answers, you then have to think about the dementia. What kind of dementia? What skills are present and what skills are missing? What kind of cue will work best for this person? (visual, auditory, touch) What environmental supports are needed? (a driver, a cook, medication reminder) Take into consideration any other issues that may affect their reaction. Are there any other diseases or psychological issues that need to be considered? Make a plan that includes the smallest amount of change possible. Only change what is needed to get a Diamond moving in the right direction. Be sure to include what could happen if nothing changes. Once you have decided, who, what, when, where and how you are now ready to talk to the Diamond.

Take these steps when discussing the issue. 1. Greet before you treat! Do not jump right into the topic. Spend time chatting, drinking coffee, etc.

  1. Bring up the issue.

  2. Use empathy.

  3. Use validation.

  4. Use active and reflective listening skills. You must listen and allow the Diamond voice their concerns, frustrations and anger.

  5. Do not push back! Do not engage in an argument, do not raise your voice and remain calm! Remember you are the voice of reason.

  6. Most important, if it is not working BACK OFF! Be firm and follow the plan that you have in place. Listen to their concerns and address them. Be persistent but not pushy. You can always try again later but if you anger them to much it will be nearly impossible to get them to listen to you or anyone else on the subject.

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