Communication Strategies for Alzheimer’s Caregivers
If your parent has Alzheimer’s, the disease may impair the parts of the brain that process language, which could make it very difficult to communicate. Your parent may forget words, use the wrong words, or not be able to process and understand what you say. However, you shouldn’t give up on talking to your loved one. There are a few things you can do to make communication easier for your parent and yourself.
Use Simple Words
The words seniors with Alzheimer’s remember and understand the longest are typically the words they first learned, which means communication may be easier if you stick to basic words and short sentence structures. Instead of using complex phrases like “It’s important to discuss all the pertinent medical details,” say something like “Let’s talk about your health.” It can also be helpful to use specific names for everything instead of using general pronouns like “this” or “that.”
A trained caregiver with experience in caring for seniors with Alzheimer’s can be a fantastic resource for family members. Families looking for top-rated Sacramento home care service providers can reach out to Home Care Assistance. From respite care to specialized Alzheimer’s, dementia, stroke, and Parkinson’s care, there are many ways we can make life easier for seniors and their loved ones.
Communicate With Gestures
Pay a lot of attention to your body language when talking to your loved one. Doing things like gesturing to items as you mention them may make it easier to understand what’s going on. Facial gestures are just as important. Seniors who cannot comprehend what you’re saying can still respond positively to a smile or get worried by a frown.
Professional caregivers with training and expertise in Alzheimer’s care can often identify the sources of communication issues and respond effectively and compassionately.
Pick A Distraction-Free Environment
Because they have to work a little harder to communicate, seniors with Alzheimer’s may have difficulty talking when their brains are busy processing their environments. Make sure you turn off televisions, radios, or anything else that is making noise or has flashing lights. Talk to your loved one when he or she isn’t participating in an activity, eating, or holding an object, and avoid trying to communicate in chilly, hot, or otherwise uncomfortable environments.
Expect it to take quite a bit longer for your loved one to say what he or she is trying to say. Rushing, interrupting, or trying to finish sentences for your loved one may only lead to frustration and make communication difficult. Take the time to pay attention to your loved one and let him or her slowly piece together what he or she wants to say.
Avoid Focusing On Correction
When seniors with Alzheimer’s say something incorrectly, it may be tempting to correct them. However, unlike trying to talk to someone who speaks a foreign language, corrections aren’t helpful, because seniors with Alzheimer’s cannot relearn how to speak. Constantly correcting when your loved one gets the date wrong, uses the wrong name for an object, or mispronounces words will just frustrate him or her. Try to focus on the general gist of what your loved one is saying instead of getting sidetracked into an argument over whether or not today is really Wednesday.