Why is communication so important to us humans? Why do we rely on it so much? And what happens when we lose our ability to communicate effectively?
Perhaps it all began with survival and a need to better adapt to our physical environment. But ever since the creation of art through language, we humans have given new meaning to that which vibrates from our vocal cords to produce hymns and poetry, magical lyrics matching captivating melodies to the things we love and roaring battle cries to the things we fear. We use language and communication to give meaning to the world we wake up to every day. A plethora of nouns and pronouns swimming through our minds as we cross the street, a library of verbs as we converse with a friend or family member. Surely, our very psychological well-being rests on the structure of language and communication. A medium used to bond, to spread happiness, sadness, fear, turmoil and all the unique experiences that we have come to feel.
And what about that which we can touch? We grasp a round-ball-shaped object and know it to be an apple. We bite down on it and know it to bring an array of tastes and delight. And so we communicate. We tell those close to us what a miracle that apple was. We connect. We bond as language brings us closer together. But so much of our communication is done through our bodies as if there exists an ancestral language, one which needed no vocal cords. Today we know that up to 90% of communication is non-verbal. It seems our bodies automatically maintain a form of communication between one another, one which required no adjectives nor adverbial phrases.
So how would you feel if your language and verbal communicating abilities began to deteriorate? What effects would this have on you and your identity? If you began struggling with the names of certain objects, forced to substitute another word just because you can’t remember the real word. How would you feel when you’re no longer able to recognize familiar faces and places, when you no longer know the word for an apple. And worse, when you no longer know what an apple is. You can no longer form a sentence to describe how you really feel. And so you use words, but these words are not the ones you are looking for. You have lost the real ones, and can’t seem to find them. And so you repeat the ones you know, over and over. Why can’t they understand me?
This is Alzheimer’s Disease and other forms of Dementia. This is one of the reasons why we need to take a good look at the care homes and the people who do the caring, for without understanding there can never come true care. Without their words, they are left with repetitive phrases and their body language. That is why we must learn to become fluent in the language of the body because towards the end, it will be all they have left.
And so it is fundamental that we learn how to effectively communicate with these people we love so much. And learn how we can facilitate the opportunity for them to communicate effectively. That is why the Jura Care Team has created an insightful guide titled: Effective Communication – How To Engage People With Dementia Through Effective Interaction (pdf: 1.15MB)