In any relationship, be it parent and child or spouses, good communication is key. One of the biggest challenges of Alzheimer’s disease is that it gradually diminishes a person’s ability to communicate, and thus can lead to frustration on all sides. People with dementia have more difficulty expressing their thoughts and emotions, as well as more trouble understanding others.
Likewise, family caregivers have difficulty understanding their loved ones’ cues and may not know how to talk to them to help them understand confusing situations. The Bayside home care team at Best Senior Home Care has decades of experience in helping seniors with Alzheimer’s and their families communicate better. Here are a few tips from the Alzheimer’s Association to help you improve communication with your senior loved one:
- Learn to create a ‘kind voice’ – slower, lower, smiling.
- Talk slowly and clearly.
- To help 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.
- Use short, simple words and sentences.
- Avoid using logic and reason.
- Avoid quizzing or asking, “Do you remember when…?”
- Do not take any negative communication personally.
- Avoid criticizing, correcting and arguing.
- Let the person know you are listening and trying to understand 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 you don’t understand what is being said, ask the person to point or gesture.
Remember that as Alzheimer’s disease progresses, so will communication issues. Keep a positive attitude when communicating with a loved one who has dementia, as your tone of voice and facial expressions will convey a lot. If you need assistance communicating with or caring for a loved one who has Alzheimer’s, Best Senior Home Care of Flushing, NY is here to help! Contact us to learn more about our Alzheimer’s care services today!