Communication is challenging for people with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of memory loss. People with Alzheimer’s often struggle to understand what other people are saying and may have trouble remembering certain words or phrases. Effective communication takes patience and excellent listening skills. Learn how to communicate better by using these simple tips and techniques:
Find a Quiet Place to Talk
When speaking to someone with Alzheimer’s, try to find a quiet place to talk that doesn’t have too many distractions, like a TV, radio, or other people. Loud environments can be overly stimulating to people with Alzheimer’s. Loud noises can be distracting, making it difficult for the individual to focus on what you are saying. Some people with Alzheimer ’s have a hard time recognizing the person speaking to them. Sit close to them and always face him or her and maintain eye contact while speaking. This will also help the person’s better see and understand you.
Practice Relaxed Speech and Body Language
Quick movements can frighten someone with dementia. Be aware of your body language and speech when talking with your loved one. Slow down when you are talking and enunciate your words. Avoid making sudden or abrupt body movements. Use relaxed and slow body movements and slowed speech when communicating both verbally and non-verbally.
Use Non-Verbal Cues
Words can be confusing for people with Alzheimer’s disease. Try using verbal cues whenever possible. A friendly smile, for example, can be very comforting to someone with memory loss particularly if they are unable to understand what you’re saying. Keep non-verbal cues relaxing and calm to show the person you are not irritated or angry. Visual cues are useful for a variety of reasons. It can be helpful to touch an item or point to it instead of talking about it, for example. If you want the person with memory loss to eat their meal, you can try pointing to their plate, or you can hand them a fork.
Be Caring and Empathetic
Caring for someone with Alzheimer’s can be a frustrating experience when they are no longer able to communicate with you effectively. It’s important to remember that the loss of verbal ability is part of the disease process and not something they can control. Be empathetic when speaking to your loved one and understand the difficulties they are facing. Try not to correct the person with Alzheimer’s disease when they or try to reason with them when they are not able to understand you.
Do Not Be Afraid of Physical Touch
For people living with Alzheimer’s, physical touch can be comforting. Reach out to shake or touch their hand. If the person recognizes who you, don’t be afraid to hug them or hold their hand.
Consult with ElderCare at Home
Family members often have a difficult time learning how to communicate with their loved ones with Alzheimer’s disease effectively. Fortunately, there is help available. When you work ElderCare at Home, you can learn new communication techniques that will make it easier to talk to someone with dementia. Home Health Aides can also care for your loved one’s social needs by providing one-on-one interactions in a stimulating and comfortable social environment.
As Alzheimer’s disease continues to progress, communication can become more and more impaired. This impairment often leads to confusion, stress, and frustration for the person impacted by the disease. When this occurs, caregivers must learn to communicate effectively through a variety of techniques and listening tactics. Know that even if a person with Alzheimer’s disease can express themselves clearly, they may still experience feelings of confusion or have trouble understanding others.
For more information about how to effectively communicate with people with Alzheimer’s disease or to learn more about our Memory Care at Home Services, call or contact us today!