Alzheimer’s and other dementia-related diseases display some traits that can be difficult to deal with. One of the main complications of Alzheimer’s care is communicating effectively with someone who has the condition. There are three stages of AD and each requires a different set of communication skills.
An Alzheimer's Care Guide to Communication
1. Stage One
In this stage, an individual is still able to take part in most normal conversations; however, they will begin to forget some words. They will also lose much of their short-term memory, causing them to repeat themselves and often grow overwhelmed and frustrated with their environment.
- Talk directly to them rather than a caregiver or companion. Not doing so may make them feel excluded and not able to participate.
- Be patient; they will need extra time to formulate answers and thoughts.
- Don’t be afraid to laugh and be humorous. This can lighten their mood.
- Do not finish their sentences for them unless they request your help. This may make them feel ashamed.
2. Stage Two
During this stage, also known as Moderate Alzheimer’s, your loved one will no longer be involved in past social and professional obligations; and the names of family members and friends will be forgotten. Symptoms associated with the first stage increase greatly here, so the same techniques for Alzheimer’s care will be needed, but with a few new ones.
- Allow them even more time to respond.
- Do not argue with them, even if you do not agree. At this point, it is difficult for them to understand other people’s point of view.
- Only ask one question at a time, and speak clearly and slowly.
- Visual clues may be helpful to them, so point to or touch an item you are talking about.
- Be supportive and encouraging. This will reassure them it’s OK to explain themselves.
3. Stage Three
Also known as Severe Alzheimer’s, this is the last stage of AD. By this point, most individuals have complete memory loss, making Alzheimer’s care even more difficult. Even the basics like eating, dressing, and hygiene will require assistance. If they aren’t already, most AD patients are placed in a senior living facility. They are unlikely to remember most words or their meanings.
- Do not talk down to them or ignore them.
- Treat them with dignity and respect.
- Use taste, smell, touch, and sight as communication; for example, you can raise your hand to your mouth as if eating.
- Just be there. It’s OK if you don’t know what to say—your presence alone will be comforting.
As the body ages, some things become more difficult. At Central Ohio’s finest assisted living facility, The Vineyards at Concord, they aim to lessen the burden and make the most of your upcoming years. Give them a call today at (740) 998-4777; or, visit their website to learn more about their Alzheimer’s care offerings.