The Alzheimer’s Organization defines communication with an Alzheimer’s or Dementia diagnosed person clearly and honestly. “Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias gradually diminish a person’s ability to communicate. Communication with a person with Alzheimer’s requires patience, understanding and good listening skills.”
Life changes when a loved one develops dementia or Alzheimer’s. The most loving person may become hateful and rude; the meanest become angelic. Remember, in any situation, the human connection is communication.
Stages of Dementia & Alzheimer’s
There are various stages of Alzheimer’s and an abundance of approaches to communicating. Listed below are a small number of scenarios with suggestions for communication.
Unable to find the right words; repeating stories; relying on gestures rather than words: First and foremost, be patient. Maintain eye contact and wait for them to find their words. Try to be understanding in the process. Do not ignore your Senior. They are still able to be a part of the conversation, even when silent.
Poor judgment; confusion with people, places, events; personality changes: A compassionate approach to validate memories playing the role of who your loved one thinks you are. Ask yes or no questions and wait for answers.
Nonverbal; speaks with grunts or gestures; incoherent communication: These behaviors are generally present in the later stages of Alzheimer’s. When visiting always approach your loved one from the front. Faces may not be recognized, but voices usually are. Consider if they are feeling angry, sad, or happy. Follow the positive. If nothing else, just be there. In their hearts, your presence is known. Always remember to treat them with dignity and respect.
Alzheimer’s Disease is unique from other life-changing diagnoses. It affects not only one person, but a whole family and circle of friends. There is no cure. It is in the world’s best interest to “listen” and keep the stories alive.
Bridge to Better Living assists and guides Seniors and their loved ones to find the most appropriate Senior Living Community for Quality of Life. Alzheimer’s hits home for each of our Transition Consultants. We understand the dynamics of this disease. Let Bridge to Better Living help you through the journey of finding the right place and the best community approach for your loved one. Contact them today for no-cost-to-the-client service. You will be glad you did.