Communication and Alzheimer’s
Communicating in the Different Stages of Alzheimer’s with Your Loved One
In the beginning stages of Alzheimer’s, you may not noticed big changes in behavior or communication with your loved one. As it progresses however, the person you once knew will be constantly changing. While this is difficult, you do not have to feel alone or at a loss as to what to expect or what to do. Below is a list of changes that will begin to happen, as well tips on what to do when different situations arise as the disease progresses.
Train of thought is easily lost. – Don’t rush them. Practice patience and silence. Don’t try to finish sentences for your loved one as this may fluster them more. Wait for them to ask for help before jumping in.
Your loved one suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease may have a hard time finding the right words to say, or struggle to articulate a particular thought. – Remember humor and honesty. Be honest about what you as the caregiver is going through, reassure them of your relationship, that they do not need to feel bad around you, that you are there no matter what. And remember to laugh together. Sometimes humor is the best kind of medicine and helps to ease nerves which will alleviate stress, in turn, sometimes improving conversation with those diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.
Along with struggling with articulation, a person with Alzheimer’s may have a hard time putting words or thoughts in the right order, causing communication to be a struggle. – Don’t leave your loved one intentionally of conversations just because it may be “easier.” Encourage involvement, keep communication lines open, figuring out with them different ways the can communicate that is best and most comfortable and effective. Some people are better in person, some via email or phone.
As the disease progresses, remember to continue being supportive. Your loved one may become more and more silent, or they may be repetitive with words and thoughts/ideas they are familiar and comfortable with. – Eye contact and one on one conversations are a huge help when encouraging a person struggling. This makes them feel special, there are less things to be distracted with than if in a group conversation, and you as the caregiver, can more easily pick up on cues to help out your loved one.