Alzheimer’s disease is well known for its profound influence on the ability to effectively communicate. In addition to the disease affecting speech, it also causes difficulties in an individual’s ability to correctly use words, along with the understanding of the meanings of words. As the disease progresses into the later stages, using language as a way of communicating will become more challenging.
- Use a ‘kind voice’ – lower, slower, and smiling.
- Steer clear of treating the senior as a child, and do all that you can to be patient, kind, flexible, supportive and peaceful.
- Be sure to limit potential distractions like the TV or radio, and make eye contact with the senior.
- To help ground the person with Alzheimer’s and maintain his/her focus, call the person by name and identify yourself by name as well.
- Use short, simple sentences and ask questions that are easy to answer, such as, “Would you like soup or salad?” instead of, “What would you like for lunch?”
- Never argue or try to change the senior’s mind, even if his/her request seems irrational.
- Repeat questions and information as needed. If the senior does not answer, wait for a moment to allow him/her to think through what you’re saying. Then ask again.
- Be mindful of feelings over facts, as the emotions being displayed are often more relevant than what is being said.
- Let the senior think of and describe whatever he/she wants. In the event that the senior uses an incorrect word, or is unable to think of a word, try guessing the correct one. If you still cannot figure out what he/she is trying to communicate, try asking the senior to point or gesture.
Communicating is a crucial part of our relationships, and that doesn’t change when a senior is diagnosed with dementia. For more Alzheimer’s communication tips, and for information on our highly specialized, compassionate care for those with dementia, right in the comfort of home, contact Hillendale Home Care online or call any time at 925-933-8181.