Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Communication and Alzheimer's | Caregiver Center | Alzheimer's Association

"People with Alzheimer's and other dementias have more difficulty expressing thoughts and emotions; they also have more trouble understanding others. Here are some ways to help the person with Alzheimer's communicate...."

  • Identify yourself.
    Approach the person from the front and say who you are. Keep good eye contact; if the person is seated or reclined, go down to that level.
  • Call the person by name.
    It helps orient the person and gets his or her attention.
    Ongoing communication is important, no matter how difficult it may become or how confused the person with Alzheimer's or dementia may appear.
  • Use short, simple words and sentences.
    Lengthy requests or stories can be overwhelming. Ask one question at a time.
  • Speak slowly and distinctively.
    Be aware of speed and clarity. Use a gentle and relaxed tone — a lower pitch is more calming.
  • Patiently wait for a response. 
    The person may need extra time to process what you said. 
  • Repeat information or questions as needed.
    If the person doesn't respond, wait a moment. Then ask again. 
  • Turn questions into answers.
    Provide the solution rather than the question. For example, say "The bathroom is right here," instead of asking, "Do you need to use the bathroom?" 
  • Avoid confusing and vague statements.
    If you tell the person to "Hop in!" he or she may interpret your instructions literally. Instead, describe the action directly: "Please come here. Your shower is ready." Instead of using "it" or "that," name the object or place. For example rather than "Here it is" say "Here is your hat."
  • Turn negatives into positives.
    Instead of saying, "Don't go there," say, "Let's go here."
  • Give visual cues.
    To help demonstrate the task, point or touch the item you want the individual to use or begin the task for the person.
  • Avoid quizzing.
    Reminiscing may be healthy, but avoid asking, "Do you remember when ... ?"
  • Write things down.
    Try using written notes as reminders if the person is able to understand them. 
  • Treat the person with dignity and respect.
    Avoid talking down to the person or talking as if he or she isn't there. 
  • Convey an easygoing manner.
    Be aware of your feelings and attitude — you may be communicating through your tone of voice. Use positive, friendly facial expressions and nonverbal communication. 

Communication and Alzheimer's | Caregiver Center | Alzheimer's Association:

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