Alzheimer's Doesn't Have To Shut Down Communication: 5 Tools To Help You Communicate With Your Loved One
Alzheimer's takes its toll on the family. If you have a loved one with Alzheimer's, you may feel like you're trying to communicate with a stranger. Don't give up hope. It's important to remember that there will be good and bad days when it comes to communicating with your loved one.
It's also important to know that there are ways for you to improve your communication. Here are just a few tools you can use that can help you get through to your loved one with Alzheimer's.
Find a Quiet Place to Visit
When it comes to Alzheimer's, distractions can interfere with communication. If there are too many things to focus on, you may find it difficult to gain your loved ones attention. Find a quiet place to visit – perhaps their room, or a secluded patio. Once you have them in a quiet place, you may have an easier time holding their attention.
Don't Forget to Use Names
You want to spark a memory that your loved one can grasp on to. Instead of using terms such as "you," "me," or other pronouns, try to use specific names. For instance, begin your conversation with "Hi Mom." Be sure to include your name, as well. This will help your loved one understand who you are and how you know them.
Narrow the Focus
You may be used to holding broad conversations with your loved one. However, now that they have Alzheimer's those broad conversations may be too stressful and difficult for them to follow. Try limiting your conversation to one topic at a time and allow the conversation to go slowly. Don't try to rush the conversation or your loved one may shut down entirely.
Alzheimer's can cause people to remember things differently. You may notice that they are forgetting key information in stories that they've told hundreds of times. Try not to interrupt or correct their stories. You may know that their information is wrong, but it's okay to let some misstatements go uncorrected.
Use Positive Body Language
As the disease progresses, you might find that your loved one no longer communicates verbally. That's okay. Use your body language to communicate with them. Smiles, gentle touches and eye contact will allow you to communicate long after the verbal communication has ended.
If you have a loved one in an Alzheimer's care facility, like Valley View Retirement Community, you need to know that communication is still possible. With these communication tools, you can continue to reach out to your loved one with Alzheimer's.