Alzheimer’s Disease: Advice for Effective Communication
A person with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia faces a barrage of changes as their disease progressed. Some of this includes cognitive abilities, such as memory loss. Communication skills can deteriorate and the ability to properly express oneself can become a major challenge. If your loved one has dementia, they may not be able to say how they feel, what they need, or ask for help. This situation can become frustrating for you both.
Communication is important for practical matters and personal or emotional needs. As a caregiver, you need to understand if your loved one is in pain, needs to take medication, or has eaten today. To maintain that important bond, you want to know how they feel, what they’re thinking about, that they are comfortable. Communicating with someone who has Alzheimer’s or dementia is challenging, but there are steps you can make to increase understanding.
Know What to Expect
Alzheimer’s damages pathways in the brain, making it difficult to find the right word or to understand what others are saying. Sometimes the right words are there but in the wrong order. Professional providers of memory comfort care Wichita, KS, are familiar with these difficulties and can help family caregivers anticipate changes. [Mayo Clinic]
Senior loved ones with Alzheimer’s or dementia may lose their train of thought, struggle to organize words logically, speak less often, or repeat the same word or question constantly. In the early stages of Alzheimer’s, people are often able to engage in meaningful conversations but repeat the same story or feel overwhelmed by excessive stimulation.
What You Can Do to Help
When a loved one isn’t able to express themselves or say what they need, it is often frustrating for family caregivers. A once simple question may become a long explanation or hassle. What is important to remember is that your loved one’s brain simply cannot comprehend words as they once did. Your loved one, even if they were stubborn and independent before Alzheimer’s, isn’t trying to upset you. Chances are they are frustrated as well, which makes communicating all that more difficult for them.
For this reason, patience and simplicity are key. Tell you’re loved one that you are listening and trying to understand. Do not interrupt them or repeat the same question multiple times. Try to limit distractions by having one-on-one conversations in a quiet place. Simplify requests into single steps.
ComfortCare Wichita, KS, advises family caregiver to remain respectful and agreeable. Avoid talking down to your loved one or talking about them as if they aren’t there. Arguing or correcting a loved one with Alzheimer’s is often futile, as they may not understand a situation as clearly as you do. Even if they are wrong, moving on to something else can be better than correcting them. [Source]
Utilize Professional Comfort Care Wichita, KS
When your loved one is in the later stages of Alzheimer’s and dementia, they may lose their verbal communication skills entirely. It may become time to look into professional memory care and comfort care Wichita, KS, options. Memory care professionals are trained to utilize touch, sounds, and gestures to help seniors communicate even in late stage Alzheimer’s. Being in a community setting and simply being around others can also be beneficial for seniors who are nonverbal. The sights and sounds are stimulating and can provide comfort.
If you’re considering professional memory care services for your senior loved one, please consider ComfortCare Homes in Wichita, KS. Our residential homes offer a safe environment for those with dementia or Alzheimer’s to receive the specialized care they need in a welcoming environment.
For more information about memory care services provided by ComfortCare Homes, please call our office at (316) 444-0532.