As Alzheimer’s disease gradually diminishes a person’s ability to communicate, he or she will experience difficulty expressing thoughts and emotions, as well as have more trouble understanding others. This can present challenging situations where communication is concerned. The following are a few tips to help family members and friends understand and communicate better with someone with Alzheimer’s:
- Learn to create a ‘kind voice’ – slower, lower, smiling.
- Talk slowly and clearly, and use short, simple words and sentences.
- To orient the person and get his or her attention, call the person by name.
- Always approach the person from the front so there are no surprises.
- Tell the person who you are, even if you are the spouse or child.
- Ask one question at a time.
- Avoid quizzing or asking “Do you remember when…?”
- Avoid criticizing, correcting and arguing.
- Show the person that you care about what is being said.
- Patiently wait for a response as extra time may be required to process your request.
- Repeat information and questions. If the person doesn’t respond, wait a moment. Then ask again.
- Focus on the feelings, not the facts.
- Sometimes the emotions being expressed are more important than what is being said.
- If the person uses the wrong word or cannot find a word, try guessing the right one.
- If you don’t understand what is being said, ask the person to point or gesture.
For common causes and supportive responses to problem Alzheimer’s behaviors, click here.
At Heartwarming Care in University Place, WA, we are here to help family caregivers address communication issues with their loved ones and learn more about living with and caring for Alzheimer’s disease. Contact us at (253) 460-1574 or (888) 927-6227 to for more information.