As well as memory problems, Alzheimer’s can cause difficulties in finding the right words to say, understanding what others are saying, and speaking in general. This can make conversation and communication difficult if a friend or family member has Alzheimer’s disease. But communication is still important, so we’ve got some tips to help you communicate more effectively with your loved one.
Speak slowly and clearly
Alzheimer’s patients may have difficulty listening to you and understanding what you’re saying. They will likely need a little more time to process what they hear. If you speak to fast or if you mumble, this will make it even harder. Make sure you speak slowly and clearly when communicating with your family member. Avoid using long, complicated sentences and advanced vocabulary.
Body language and verbal cues are an important part of communication. If your loved one finds it difficult to process speech, these things become even more important. Eye contact, smiling, and open body language can make the person feel more comfortable when communicating with you. Using visual cues and hand gestures while you speak can also help them to understand you better. Physical contact like touching their hand or shoulder can also be comforting.
Think about the environment you’re in when speaking to your loved one. If it’s an environment that’s unfamiliar and daunting, this can make them stressed out and make their condition worse. A distracting environment will make it more difficult for them to concentrate and process what you’re saying. So, you should try to limit background noise and distracting visual environments.
Be patient and empathetic
Perhaps most importantly, you need to be patient when communicating with someone who has Alzheimer’s. They might take longer to choose what words to use, there will be pauses while they understand what you’ve said, and they might forget details or mix things up. Don’t rush them or try to fill the silences – give them time and be understanding of their condition. Also, avoid correcting them as this can be even more confusing and frustrating for them. If they try to argue with you about something, don’t engage in the argument.
If your loved one needs additional care, then you can speak to us at Brookstone of Clemmons. We provide assisted living and other services in Clemmons, NC for Alzheimer’s patients and other seniors who can no longer live independently.