How to Communicate Better with Elderly Loved Ones with Alzheimer’s or Dementia
When it comes to communicating with your elderly loved one who has Alzheimer’s, Dementia can be frustrating and challenging.
Your elderly loved one may have difficulty understanding you and you may have a hard time understanding what they are trying to communicate. There’s potential for confusion, misunderstanding and frustration on both sides making communication even more difficult.
It may be easy to overlook but, your elderly loved one may also feel a great deal of confusion, frustration and anxiety about what they are experiencing. Everyday conversations can end up being very frustrating if not upsetting to your elderly family member.
You’ll need some patience, good listening skills, a good sense of humor, and some new strategies.
Here’s some help on how to ease your frustration and improve communication with your elderly loved one who has Alzheimer’s dementia, or is in cognitive decline.
Alliance Senior Care In-Home Specialty Care Services can offer your elderly loved one and family care givers with support of full-time specialty care services.
Patterns Often Experienced When Communicating with Elderly in Cognitive Decline
An elderly loved one in cognitive decline, may have difficulty in remembering or finding the words in the conversation. You may experience some of these patterns in your conversations, including;
- Trouble finding and remembering words in conversation
- Substituting words that may sound the same, but have different meanings
- Repeating words, experiences or questions over and over
- Mixing unrelated concepts, ideas, or phrases together
- Frequently losing their train of thought n conversation
- Speaking less
- Speaking much more
In these situations both parties involved in a conversation can easily get frustrated. Here are some things you can do to help.
Allow your elderly, loved one who has cognitive issues to talk without interruption. Take the time to listen and allow for them to speak completely.
Help Them Out
Use pictures and written descriptions. Keep records of events and conversations. Right answers down so they can refer to them later.
Encourage Habits that Will Help to Maintain Memory
Encourage the use of a diary, journal or calendar. Give them simple answers to questions speak clearly and slowly and repeat yourself if need be.
Limit visual distractions and background noises such as TV radio which can make it difficult to hear listen attentively, or concentrate on the conversation. Avoid using your phone at the same time you’re communicating with your elderly loved ones.
Avoid Criticizing Corrections and Arguing
If your elderly loved one is having a hard time using the right words or remembering try not to correct the mistakes. Avoid arguments over words and details. And avoid arguing if they’re saying something that you disagree with. Take a break if you get too frustrated give yourself and your elderly loved one a break.
While Alzheimer’s, dementia and cognitive decline certainly include challenges in communication, and this will evolve as the disease progresses with your elderly loved one. You will find that nonverbal communications, such as touch, comforting sound of your voice, or a hug will become not only important, but very meaningful.
To get started with In-Home Care can help improve your loved ones’ quality of life, call Alliance Senior Care at 248-274-2170. It’s not just In-Home Care, it is Integrated Care.
Home Care Services are an excellent resource for family caregivers and seniors alike.
Alliance Senior Care Home Care services offer a wide range of services providing healthcare, daily living assistance, transportation to and from Doctor’s appointments and tailored care services for additional circumstances.