As a condition that progressively targets areas of the brain, Alzheimer’s disease eventually affects more than just memory. While every case can vary, this condition often impairs an individual’s ability to process language, speak verbally, and engage in conversation. While these abilities may become restricted, making an effort to communicate with Alzheimer’s patients can greatly improve their mood, cognitive engagement, and overall quality of life. If someone you love is affected by this condition, here’s a brief guide on how you can communicate more effectively with them.
What Strategies Improve Communication With Alzheimer’s Patients?
Concentrating on current conversations is often one of the first challenges patients will face. Whether they have difficulty remembering a word or are repeating expressive thoughts, it’s important to shift away from an indirect conversation and deliver focused communication.
To help individuals feel heard and understood, it’s important to speak slowly and directly, maintain eye contact, and address them by name. While words may not always be effective, using body language, and paying attention to theirs, can help fill patches in the conversation.
Work Around Barriers
Alzheimer’s affects every patient differently, so try to identify what specific challenges your loved one is experiencing with communication. When you pinpoint these difficulties, you can work toward finding an effective solution.
For example, if the individual is bilingual, it may be easier to communicate with them in their native language. If there are difficulties with completing certain tasks, it’s better to provide instructions at a gentle, step-by-step pace.
Stay Positive & Encouraging
While communication obstacles can be frustrating, it’s critical that you maintain a positive and caring demeanor to your loved one. People with this condition will become frustrated or upset due to their inability to communicate, so take a gentle approach can help diffuse the tension and help them feel comfortable.
Maintaining a two-way dialogue and encouraging input is an effective way to keep your loved one engaged. For example, you should always look for opportunities to let them make decisions or take time to express a certain emotion.
Overcoming communication challenges of Alzheimer’s can complicate the care provided to a loved one, but you don’t have to navigate it alone. If you need extra support for your loved one, contact us at RehabLiving at (254) 404-2500. Our campus also includes a 25-bed licensed hospital, short-term rehabilitation, a state-of-the-art outpatient physical therapy center, and assisted living apartments. Located in Gatesville, TX, residents and family members don’t have to drive to the city to receive convenient, quality care.