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12 Strategies for More Effective Communication with Your Elderly Loved One Suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimer’s Care in Jenkintown, PA – Try these Helpful Tips for Adapting Your Communication Strategy to Your Loved One’s Changing Symptoms

Alzheimer’s Care in Jenkintown, PA People who have Alzheimer’s disease often have problems with communication and as time goes on, it can become very difficult to communicate effectively. As the disease progresses, patients begin to speak less clearly and tend to confuse or forget words. This situation can create a miscommunication between a patient and family members, or a caregiver. It is very important to be able to understand the needs of your loved one.

A person with Alzheimer’s disease finds it increasingly difficult to express themselves as well as struggling to understand what others are trying to say. Some of the changes they may be experiencing include:

  • Easily losing their train of thought
  • Substituting a word that sounds similar to the one they wanted to use
  • Difficulty finding the right words
  • Frustration at not being able to communicate verbally, sometimes substituting non-verbal gestures
  • Trouble understanding instructions
  • Not able to answer questions
  • Difficulty in organizing words into a logical fashion
  • Repeating words or phrases over and over again

There are both verbal and nonverbal techniques which can bring down the communication barriers. The tone of voice is an important component. Because your loved one may become upset or anxious very easily, try to keep your voice calm and clear. It’s helpful for family members to know a few strategies to help them in their communications with their loved one:

  1. Call your loved one by name, and remind them of your name too
  2. Talk slowly and clearly
  3. Ask very simple questions and wait patiently for a response
  4. If necessary, repeat the question, using the same wording
  5. They usually take everything literally and can’t comprehend metaphors or language where something is implied but not spoken
  6. Your loved one will get confused easily. Make language simple without talking as if they are a young child
  7. Make sure your surroundings are peaceful
  8. Approach your loved one from the front so you don’t startle them from behind
  9. Make sure there aren’t any other distracting noises going on while you’re trying to communicate
  10. Use non-verbal communication to supplement the verbal. For example show yourself eating when talking about meal time
  11. Smiling helps to calm a person with Alzheimer’s disease. You can also try gentle hugs and touches of the hand
  12. Your loved one may suffer from sudden mood changes, so keep this is mind when trying to communicate

Caregivers who are specifically trained for dementia care know just how to use communication techniques to connect with your loved one.

If you or your loved one could benefit from the help of Alzheimer’s care in Jenkintown, PA and the surrounding areas, contact the caregivers at Right at Home East Montgomery and South Bucks Counties, PA. Call (215) 995-2674 for more information.

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Chris Campbell

Chris and Maria Campbell are the owners of Right at Home in Jenkintown, Pennsylvania. Chris graduated from Rutgers University and received his MBA from Drexel University. He spent 10 years in the Pharmaceutical Sales industry ( 5 years with Bristol Myers and 5 Years Perdue Pharma).

Chris has been married for 26 years to his lovely wife and business partner Maria Campbell, RN. They have 2 boys ages 20 and 25.