Caregivers and family members of Alzheimer’s patients will have to understand that communicating with Alzheimer’s patients is different than it used to be for them. These tips will help you and your family to move forward in a positive direction.
Changes in Communication Skills
The brain of an Alzheimer’s patient changes and can make communicating more difficult. Here are some common changes that can typically occur:
- Difficulty Keeping Order – A common problem with Alzheimer’s patients is that they cannot keep the order correct when given directions; causing confusion and frustration in everyday tasks that were once easy.
- Inability to Find Words – Finding the right word can be hard for those who suffer from dementia (a common symptom of Alzheimer’s). Common words that typically are used in their everyday vocabulary can become difficult to find in their head.
- Lack of Attention – You may find that your loved one has difficulty paying attention; this is a common problem with those who have Alzheimer’s.
- Understanding – Alzheimer’s patients will often have difficulty comprehending and understanding words because of their inability to fully process words or actions.
- Increased Sensitivity – Increased sensitivity to sounds and lights can cause over-stimulation and aggravation; making communicating more difficult.
- Focusing – Blocking out sounds such as a television or other conversations and noises around them can cause a problem with focusing when being involved in conversation.
7 Tips for Communicating with Alzheimer’s Patients
These tips can help you when trying to communicate with your loved one.
- Make Eye Contact – Keeping eye contact when you communicate may help your loved one focus on what you are saying.
- Distraction – Try to carry on a conversation in a quiet area to avoid distractions.
- Use Names – Be sure to address your loved one with their name and remind them of who you are as you talk.
- Touching – Touching can sometimes be too stimulating for someone with Alzheimer’s but it can also help to bring them back into the conversation that is taking place.
- Empathize – Try to put yourself in their place and understand how frustrating it must be trying to communicate when things are so confusing.
- Encourage Them – Encouraging them to talk with you may help them retain the ability to communicate longer into the progression of the disease.
- Using Other Methods of Communication – Because communicating with Alzheimer’s patients can be difficult it can be beneficial to use touching, writing or other methods to convey a feeling or expression.
Everyone is different when it comes to communicating and you will have to use the methods and techniques that work best for you and your loved one. Just remember that you can enjoy being with your loved one and not necessarily have to talk in order to enjoy each others company.
Communicating with Alzheimer’s patients can be very difficult but it can be done if you put in the extra effort.
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