As a caregiver, it is important to understand the communication challenges of those afflicted with Alzheimer’s. Communication skills and short term memory are the first to be affected by the disease. Your loved one may began using the same words or phrases repeatedly even when they do not apply to the conversation. They may also invent new words to represent objects they recognize but are no longer able to recollect the correct term. If the person is multilingual, he or she can revert back to their native language. Forgetting names, losing train of thought, and difficulty expressing ideas in a logical order, and a decline in speaking are all common changes.
Despite these various obstacles, there are many ways you can continue to communicate with someone who has Alzheimer’s and prevent further deterioration of communication skills. Being patient and supportive shows your loved one that you care about their needs. Offering comfort and reassurance encourages them to continue speaking even when they are having trouble expressing themselves. You can also offer a guess if they start to get frustrated by the communication barrier. Avoid negativity such as criticism, corrections, and arguments. Instead, focus on listening to decipher meaning. Understand that actions and emotions speak louder than words. The way they are expressing themselves will give you more insight on how they are feeling than the actual words they are saying.
Love and attention are the best medicines for someone with Alzheimer’s. Regardless of their level of communication, take the time to engage in conversation with them regularly. Speak slowly, repeat information when needed, and maintain eye contact. They will be more likely to remember words if they hear them often.
Edison Home Health Care is happy to advise and assist you or any loved one who seek appropriate care of Alzheimer’s disease. Give us a call at 888-311-1142, or fill out a contact form and we will respond shortly.