How to Make Communication Easier as an Alzheimer’s Disease Caregiver
Communicating with a person who has Alzheimer’s disease presents unique challenges. Here’s what you can do to make it easier to connect with your loved one.
Set the Stage for Conversation
When you want to talk to your loved one, approach from the front to avoid startling him or her. Since your loved one may not recognize you, identify yourself first. Use your loved one’s name to establish a connection, and place yourself where you can easily be seen as you communicate.
Having too much going on at once can confuse a person with Alzheimer’s, so do all you can to eliminate disruptions.
Don’t try to multitask while talking to your loved one. Avoid eating or performing other activities with the potential to distract him or her. Turn the TV and radio down or off to get rid of background noise.
When your loved one is talking to you, don’t interrupt the train of thought.
Take it One Step at a Time
Due to the cognitive changes associated with Alzheimer’s, your loved one may have a hard time understanding complex conversations.
Keep your sentences short and to the point, and break difficult concepts down into smaller chunks. If you need to give instructions, do so one step at a time, helping your loved one complete each task in an orderly way.
Be Patient and Reassuring
It can take a person with Alzheimer’s a while to express what he or she is thinking, and your loved one may become frustrated by the effort.
To avoid outbursts, be patient if your loved one experiences difficulty. Never use baby talk or talk down to him or her. Treat your loved one respectfully, never criticizing or arguing, and offer encouragement to continue with the conversation.
Learn to Adapt
As Alzheimer’s progresses, you’ll have to get used to communicating with your loved one in different ways. You may need to shorten your sentences, add gestures to your dialogue or use names instead of pronouns. Pay attention to changes in the way your loved one communicates with you, as well, and learn to understand what his or her words and gestures mean.
Although Alzheimer’s diminishes memory and communication skills, you don’t have to “lose” your loved one. Adjusting to his or her needs allows you both to enjoy having conversations and sharing memories.
At Caring Home Care, we understand the effort it takes to care for a loved one with Alzheimer’s. Our caregivers can provide you with the relief you need to recharge so you can positively reconnect with your loved one. Learn more today!