The prevention of tooth decay
and gum disease helps ensure a healthier
life for your elder. Weight loss and
pneumonia can result from these conditions
so good oral care and assessments
are very important, but sometimes
may be difficult.
Providing mouth care and performing
oral assessments for elders
with dementia requires patience and
time. Here are a few helpful hints that
should make it easier for the elder and
the caregiver:
• Relax: when the caregiver is relaxed
the elder relaxes enough for you to
lift up the lips to look inside the
mouth or insert the toothbrush. Let
the elder lead. Tell the elder what you
are going to do then ask the elder to
allow you to move forward.
• Project nonverbal confidence: Smile
and use light touch to encourage the
elder to cooperate. Establish and
keep eye contact at the elder’s level.
• Choose your words carefully: Use
short phrases that sound helpful
avoiding orders. Use a calm and
friendly voice, but a firm voice.
• Keep it simple: Only one instruction
at a time and no multiple steps all
at once.
• Give choices: Offer choices but
make sure choices lead to completing
the mouth care or assessment.

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