If you know of a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease, you might have noticed some difficulty in conversing with them. In some instances, you may even find that they repeat the same questions during a conversation, use the wrong words to express themselves, or even forget the name of familiar objects and people. All of these are symptoms associated with Alzheimer’s disease and as such, caregivers should try their best to understand and respond accordingly to facilitate a good quality of life and prevent the condition from worsening.
Read on to find out some of the strategies useful for communication with those diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.
Treating Them with Dignity
When conversing with older adults with Alzheimer’s disease, don’t be afraid to laugh and be yourself around them. Humor can not only lighten the mood but also reduce stress and bring the relationship between the caregiver and patient even closer than before.
While it might be true that a caregiver needs to stay curious to understand what patients are trying to convey, it is also equally important to respond in manners that allow patients to retain a sense of dignity. Should you respond in a frustrated or negative tone that makes patients feel foolish or incapable, they might suffer from low self-esteem and can even result in depression.
If you find difficulty in responding in a nice manner despite trying different techniques, then it may be time to consider professional help from experts in memory care, such as the SHINE® Memory Care program available at Rittenhouse Village at Portage. Moreover, in such memory care facilities, a variety of amenities are available to ensure that their needs are always taken care of.
Using Non-Verbal Communication
Apart from verbal communication which patients might find difficult to understand, you can also express your concern through body language and physical contact. Other forms of communication including phone calls can also greatly improve the moods of Alzheimer’s patients.
Keeping Emotions in Check
As mentioned previously, it is imperative to treat patients with compassion that allows them to retain their dignity. After all, people suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and dementia live in their own reality and do not purposely behave in a manner to irritate or annoy you. When listening to what they are trying to convey, try your best to not correct their mistakes or engage in an argument with them.
Maintaining Eye Contact
One good way to express that you are paying attention to the conversation is through maintaining eye contact.
Speaking Clearly and Slowly
When communicating with Alzheimer’s patients, try to slow down your speech and break down the information into different parts to go through one at a time.
Avoiding Open-Ended Questions
Try to ask simple “yes” or “no” questions instead of open-ended questions. This is to avoid confusion and disorientation in communication.
When conversing with your loved one with Alzheimer’s disease, it is important to stay true and express your genuine concerns and feelings with them. Pulling away can cause patients to feel distant as well as a decrease in self-esteem levels.