Knowing the best means of communication with Alzheimer’s and dementia loved ones or patients can be challenging. As the disease progresses caregivers can become more frustrated, confused, and stressed about the lack of communication. Luckily, there are a few communication tips you can easily implement for those with Alzheimer’s and dementia.
Communication Issues for Alzheimer’s and Dementia Caregivers
As Alzheimer’s and dementia progresses caregivers may find communication to become increasingly difficult. These communication issues can vary depending on the how fast the disease progresses for each person.
“While it can be helpful for planning ahead to have some awareness of the likely progression of a person’s dementia, it is important to realize that everyone’s experience will be different,” the Alzheimer’s Society explained.
Communication issues include:
- Repetitive Stories
- Loss of Topic
- Disorganized Speech
- Inventing Words
- Communicating Less
- Rambling Incoherently
The common misconception is that people with Alzheimer’s and dementia don’t experience the same emotions due to their lack of communication. This is simply not the case. Caregivers know this, but the frustration of not being able to help can be very overwhelming.
Here are a few Alzheimer’s and dementia communication tips to help ease the overwhelming feelings and induce more meaningful conversations.
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Caregiver Empathy and Patience is Key to Communicating with Alzheimer’s and Dementia Loved Ones
When communicating with loved ones or patients as a caregiver, the way you say something has more importance than the actual message you wish to convey.
Communicating with empathy and patience is the most effective way to move any conversation in the right direction, especially for those with Alzheimer’s and dementia. Remember, communication it is probably just as, or more frustrating for them.
Best Communication Tips for Alzheimer’s and Dementia Caregivers Include:
- Don’t get offended if your loved one or patient is paranoid when talking to you.
- Redirect all offensive language from the conversation in a quick and clever way.
- If your loved one enjoys talking about the past, let them.
- Speak to Alzheimer’s and dementia loved ones as if you were talking to a friend, unless they are hard of hearing.
- Keep conversations simple by asking only one question at a time.
- Always keep the conversation positive and fun.
- Always use their name and if the conversation wanders, redirect using their name.
- Communicate in a quiet place without distractions, like television, radio, or large groups of people.
- Never criticize and keep corrections to a minimum.
- Don’t interrupt them when they are speaking.
- Don’t talk to your loved one in the third person when they are not near you. They can still hear very well.
- Always read your loved ones body language and tone to ensure the conversation is comfortable.
- Don’t talk to them like a child.
- Always stay calm, because they will sense your stress and they can read your body language and tone too.
- Never ever stop trying to communicate.
Loved ones and patients with Alzheimer’s and dementia want to communicate. Caregivers just need to make conversation happen in a comfortable way. Smiles, laughter, a calming touch can make the difference.
To communicate and stay connected with your loved one more often, look into a GPS watch and app that will help you stay together anywhere and anytime. The Caregiver Watch has multiple features to keep you and your loved one connected, like built-in camera, SOS calling, geo-fencing, scheduling, and more.