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Tips for Communicating with An Aging Loved One Who Has Alzheimer’s

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Seniors with Alzheimer’s want to communicate with their family members, but they often experience symptoms that make it difficult to engage in conversations. While your strategies for communication may change depending on the stage of Alzheimer’s your senior loved one is in, you can rely on some basic good practices to counteract most challenges. Try out these strategies as you talk to your loved one to see which ones work best for you.

Remember the Power of Touch

People often get so caught up in trying to communicate verbally that they forget touch is a powerful way to convey messages. Naturally, you can let your loved one know you care by sharing a hug, but you can also use touch to reassure him or her in an uncomfortable situation. For instance, you could rub your loved one’s back as you walk together through a crowded public space. You can also use subtle nonverbal gestures, such as touching your loved one’s arm to guide him or her in a different direction rather than telling him or her to turn left.

Use Images to Support Verbal Cues

Certain images are so ingrained in a person’s mind that they often generate a specific response right away. Stop signs are one example of this, but you can use other images to help your loved one understand your verbal requests. Consider creating a series of picture cards you can use to help your loved one complete a task step by step. You can also point to a picture of someone you’re talking about if your loved one cannot always connect a name with a face. 

A trained caregiver with experience in caring for seniors with Alzheimer’s can be a fantastic resource for family members. Families looking for top-rated Fort Myers in-home care providers can reach out to Home Care Assistance. From respite care to specialized Alzheimer’s, dementia, stroke, and Parkinson’s care, there are many ways we can make life easier for seniors and their loved ones.

Stick to Two-Choice Questions

Your loved one should have some say over what happens during the day, and letting him or her make decisions may ease strain and promote independence. However, your loved one may get overwhelmed with open-ended questions that require putting together a lengthy response. Instead, try offering your loved one two choices, such as whether he or she wants cereal or eggs for breakfast. Questions such as these let your loved one give you a one-word answer that’s easier to come up with in the later stages of Alzheimer’s disease. 

Professional caregivers with training and expertise in Alzheimer’s care can often identify the sources of communication issues and respond effectively and compassionately. Aging adults with Alzheimer’s disease can benefit from receiving professional Alzheimer’s care. Fort Myers seniors need regular mental stimulation when managing memory-related conditions, and a reliable in-home caregiver who has extensive training in Alzheimer’s care can be a great asset.

Choose a Quiet Place for Important Conversations

Your loved one may also find it difficult to filter out background noise when you’re talking. When you need to talk about something important, plan to hold the discussion in a quiet place, such as the living room. If necessary, turn off the television and switch your phone to silent mode so your loved one can focus solely on what you’re saying.

Reword Responses Instead of Repeating Them

When your loved one doesn’t understand something you say, it’s a natural response to raise your voice and repeat it. However, Alzheimer’s disease causes cognitive impairments that mean your loved one may not understand the statement even when he or she can hear it. Instead of repeating the statement, rewording it in simpler terms may be all it takes to help your loved one make sense out of what you say.

If you have a loved one with Alzheimer’s who has difficulty with comprehension or letting you know his or her needs, these suggestions can ease the communication process. Caring for a senior loved one can be challenging for families who don’t have expertise or professional training in home care, but this challenge doesn’t have to be faced alone. Family caregivers can turn to Fort Myers Home Care Assistance for the help they need. We provide high-quality live-in and respite care as well as comprehensive Alzheimer’s, dementia, stroke, and Parkinson’s care. To learn about our high-quality in-home care services, give us a call at 239.449.4701 today.