Long-term Home Care Communication With Dementia Elders in Taiwan: A Focus on Nonverbal Communication Strategies

Abstract

The population of older people living with dementia in Taiwan is growing dramatically. To enable dementia elders to age at home, quality long-term home care service is important. One way to achieve the goal is to promote successful communication with them since without this, delivery of long-term home care service is not possible. To explore the roles communication plays in long-term home care contexts for dementia elders, this study addresses one aspect of communication behaviors that tend to be overlooked in studies on dementia care communication, that is, nonverbal communication accommodations. Based on interviews with 30 long-term home care workers with at least one year of dementia care experiences, a number of nonverbal communication strategies were reported to be used in long-term home care service processes in Taiwan. They are, for instance, constant smile, using fingers to draw dementia elders’ attention to care workers’ eyes to maintain eye contact, gentle touch to body to show concerns or care, and firm holding of hands to check acceptance of instructions or refusal. Nonverbal signs of understanding are also crucial for care workers to comprehend messages sent from dementia patients, such as the movement of eye balls, looking away, looking down or maintaining steady eye contact with care workers, all of which suggest different meanings for successful care communication. Dementia communication could pose challenges and the findings could help extend our understanding of the practices in social care as well as enhance the well-being of dementia patients in care communication processes.



Author Information
Chin-Hui Chen, National Pingtung University of Science and Technology, Taiwan

Paper Information
Conference: AGen2021
Stream: Lifespan Health Promotion

This paper is part of the AGen2021 Conference Proceedings (View)
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