Living with Alzheimer’s is a challenge in lots of different ways. Patients often can’t think or communicate in the same way they used to be able to. This can be extremely difficult to cope with, but it also poses challenges for the loved ones of someone with Alzheimer’s. Here are a few simple tips to help you communicate with a family member who has Alzheimer’s disease.
Tailor communication to their condition
Each person with Alzheimer’s will differ in terms of what stage their symptoms are at. And one person’s condition can vary a lot from one day to the next, or even one minute to the next. Be aware of what your loved one is and isn’t capable of and tailor your communications to them.
Some days, they might be able to remember details from their entire life, in which case you can reminisce about fond memories. Other times they might be more confused, so trying to correct them or present new ideas to them might be too difficult for them to handle. Choose topics of conversation based on what kind of condition they’re in at that specific time.
Keep things simple
Alzheimer’s patients will not be able to process words, ideas, and other things as fast or as effectively as before. So, you should try to keep things simple when talking to them. Don’t speak too fast or use long and complicated sentences or words. Make sure you speak clearly to help them understand you better.
This may apply to the environment you’re in as well. If there is a lot of noise or visual distractions, you’re increasing the number of things they need to process at one time. Quiet and familiar environments will help to keep your loved one more at ease.
Be patient and empathetic
Alzheimer’s is a frustrating experience for both the patient and those close to them. Remember that they’ll be feeling this frustration, too, so try to remain patient when talking to them and remain empathetic to their condition. Speak in a soothing manner and use physical contact if they’re comfortable with it, such as holding their hand as you talk.
Give them time to respond or finish their sentence, they will likely need more time to process what you’ve said and how to respond. Interrupting them or finishing their sentences for them can cause even more frustration. If disagreements arise, try to change the subject or simply agree with them as arguing is not helpful to either of you.
If you need help caring for a family member with Alzheimer’s, Bermuda Village could be the perfect environment for them to be in. We provide independent living and assisted living for seniors with a range of care needs across Bermuda Run. Contact us to find out more.