How to Talk to a Person with Alzheimer’s

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The responsibility of providing care to a loved one can be challenging at times. Caring for a senior living with Alzheimer’s intensifies the challenge. As the disorder progresses, communication between you and your loved one may become increasingly difficult. Your loved one may comprehend less of the actual world and the words he or she hears. However, communication remains possible with a few strategies.

Use Physical Cues

The changes that occur in the brain of someone with Alzheimer’s skew the thought processes. Your loved one may believe he or she is living sometime in the past or experience delusions or hallucinations. As such, he or she may not be aware that you’re present in the room. When desiring to communicate with your loved one, face each other so he or she recognizes your presence. If your loved one is seated, kneel in front of him or her. Smile when speaking, make eye contact, and pat your loved one’s hand or shoulder.

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 Brampton home care services 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.

Simplify Messages

Keep the conversation simple. Avoid confusing your loved one with complicated requests or directions. Take it one step at a time. Ask simple, direct questions. If your loved one is unable to verbalize at this phase, ask questions that require a simple nod or shake of the head. Explain actions before attempting to lead your loved one toward planned tasks. If he or she resists, don’t argue. Speak calmly and softly. Have patience and allow your loved one enough time to attempt to process what you’re saying.

Professional caregivers with training and expertise in Alzheimer’s care can often identify the sources of communication issues and respond effectively and compassionately. Aging adults with Alzheimer’s disease can benefit from receiving professional Alzheimer’s care. Brampton seniors need regular mental stimulation when managing memory-related conditions, and a reliable in-home caregiver who has extensive training in Alzheimer’s care can be a great asset.

Avoid Arguments

At times, seniors with Alzheimer’s may refuse daily tasks such as bathing or changing clothes. Resist the urge to reason with your loved one. Offer choices. Instead of insisting on getting dressed, ask which of two outfits he or she might like to wear. When bath time approaches, provide a choice between fragrant cleansing products. Offer compliments and encouragement.

Address Anger or Agitation

Seniors with Alzheimer’s often demonstrate aggressive or accusatory behaviors in the afternoon—a behavior known as sundowner’s syndrome. Seniors might believe someone is trying to harm them or accuse loved ones of stealing from them or engaging in other unpleasant behaviors. Understand that sundowner’s is part of the disease process. Determine the problem fueling your loved one’s reaction and help him or her resolve the matter from his or her point of view. When your loved one becomes agitated, determine if he or she is in pain, needs to use the bathroom, or has another problem he or she is unable to effectively communicate.

Use Diversion Techniques

Seniors living with Alzheimer’s disease may ask the same questions repeatedly. They may tell the same stories again and again. Some repeat phrases that make them sound like skipping records. These moments cause frustration for caregivers at times. However, be patient and have compassion. Try to divert your loved one’s attention to another topic. Engage your loved one in a conversation or distract his or her thought processes by having him or her assist with simple tasks. Sometimes music calms seniors with Alzheimer’s.

If your loved one is living with Alzheimer’s and has difficulty with comprehension or letting you know his or her needs, these suggestions can ease the communication process. Caring for a senior loved one can be challenging for families who don’t have expertise or professional training in home care, but this challenge doesn’t have to be faced alone. Family caregivers can turn to Brampton Home Care Assistance for the help they need. We provide high-quality live-in and respite care as well as comprehensive Alzheimer’s, dementia, stroke, and Parkinson’s care. If you need professional Alzheimer’s care for your loved one, Home Care Assistance is just a phone call away. Reach out to one of our Care Managers today at 905-951-8885.