When one of your loved ones has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, it’s extremely difficult for everyone involved. One of the hardest parts of this diagnosis is watching your loved one struggle. From remembering what day it is to recalling your name, individuals struggling with Alzheimer’s have a harder time remembering things that were once easy. With that in mind, it’s always good to know what you can do to make this significant shift in life just a little bit easier.
In today’s blog, we are going to touch on one of the more difficult changes that happen with an Alzheimer’s diagnosis: communication. Remembering that this is equally difficult and confusing for them is the first thing that needs to happen. That being said, let’s dive into a few of the things that you can do when communicating with individuals diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.
As with any conversation, it’s essential for you to hold attention with the individual while conversing. Alzheimer’s can make it challenging to focus in general, so a conversation can be overwhelming and leave them feeling upset. As you start a conversation, make sure that you have their attention before you start talking. Whether that means saying their name or touching their arm so they know you are talking to them, you want to make sure you have their attention before you start. Aside from that, it’s good to maintain eye contact during the conversation so as not to lose focus mid-way through.
Avoid Talking With Your Hands
As we mentioned earlier, it can be difficult for individuals with Alzheimer’s to maintain focus during a conversation. For that reason, it’s always good to avoid talking with your hands. As difficult as it may be, adding hand motions into the conversation can make it near impossible for Alzheimer patients to focus.
Keep it Upbeat
Alzheimer’s is a difficult disease to live with. It can make day to day activities challenging, even without someone there to point out that they’re incorrect. As you converse with an Alzheimer’s patient, make sure that you’re keeping your conversation upbeat. Stay away from the things that they’re doing incorrectly and use positive words and phrases to get your point across. For example, when they’re doing something incorrectly, avoid telling them that they’re doing something wrong and word it as “let’s try it this way” instead. This simple change in wording can make a world of difference when conversing.
MInimize Background Noise
As we’ve said a couple of times, it’s essential that you do everything you can to reduce the number of distractions that are happening around you when having a conversation with an Alzheimer’s patient. One of the many things that people forget about is the noise happening in the background. While it may not seem like a huge distraction, even the slightest of background noises can become a massive distraction while conversing. Whether it’s a fan or the television, do your best to initiate conversations in areas where there isn’t a ton of noise.
Adapting to the changes of Alzheimer’s is something that requires time and, most importantly, patience. You will inevitably find yourself frustrated with the circumstances and irritable with the situation, but you absolutely need to remain patient. If the individual with Alzheimer doesn’t respond in the way that you need, rephrase what you said and try again. This is one of the best ways to meet them where they’re comfortable and where they understand.
Take Advantage of In-Home Care
Taking care of someone with Alzheimer’s is more complicated than people realize. Even with the communication skills that we’ve touched on in today’s blog, it can be extremely challenging to care for your loved one. That is why the team at Reliable In-Home Care always suggests looking into quality in-home healthcare. This is a fantastic way to ensure your loved one receives the care that they need without having to leave the comfort of their home.
If one of your loved ones has recently been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, let the team at Reliable In-Home Care help. Our team has years of experience caring for Alzheimer patients in the Orange County area and would love to assist your loved one as well. Feel free to reach out to our team with any questions that you have regarding the dementia and Alzheimer services that we offer, and we would be more than happy to get you taken care of.