Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia can progressively diminish a person’s capability to communicate. They may struggle to find the right word, find it difficult to form cohesive sentences, and struggle to express themselves overall.
Communicating with someone with Alzheimer’s disease requires good listening skills, understanding, and patience. Safe @ Home Senior Care, a premier provider of senior care in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, offers the following strategies to help both the caregiver and the person with Alzheimer’s disease understand each other better.
- Make sure you have their attention.
People with Alzheimer’s can easily get distracted. Before you start talking, make sure that you have their full attention.
- Talk in a quiet place.
In relation to the first strategy, try to talk to them in a quiet place. Find a room without any distractions like the TV or a radio. This will help them focus on you and your conversation better.
- Be attentive.
Just as you want them to focus on you, make sure that you are focused on them as well. Show them that you are listening. Maintain eye contact as you talk. Take the time to listen to what they are saying.
- Give them time to respond.
Be patient and give them time to respond. Also, don’t interrupt them and let them finish their sentences unless they ask for help.
- Offer reassurance.
Oftentimes, persons with Alzheimer’s disease become frustrated when they can’t communicate properly. At times like these, make sure to provide them with reassurance. Let them know that it’s okay for them to take their time when responding.
- Ask “yes” or “no” questions.
Too many options may be confusing for someone with Alzheimer’s. So, instead of asking them broad questions such as “What would you like to drink?” ask them “yes” or “no” questions like, “Would you like to drink water?”
- Use humor when it’s appropriate.
It’s okay to laugh. Sometimes, using humor can lighten the mood and make it easier to communicate.
- Don’t argue.
If you don’t agree with something they say, don’t argue. Arguing can only lead to frustration for both you and the person with Alzheimer’s.
- Treat them with respect. Always treat them with respect and dignity. Don’t talk down to them and avoid using “baby talk”. Also, don’t exclude them from conversations or act like they aren’t in the same room.
Communicating with someone with Alzheimer’s disease can be difficult, particularly once the disease progresses. However, remember that they aren’t doing this on purpose. If they start to forget certain things, don’t take it personally. Be patient. Make them feel safe and secure. As your friendly home care agency in Wisconsin, we hope that these strategies will be able to help you and your loved ones. Do you have other tips in mind? Let us know.