How do you talk to someone with Alzheimer's Disease?
How do you begin a conversation with someone with dementia?
These are common questions asked by caregivers for those with memory loss. Alzheimer's disease affects a person’s communication skills which leads to difficulty with concentrating, thinking clearly, remembering names and topics of conversation and causing confusion. As the illness gets worse so do these problems.
Caregivers that are taking care of Alzheimer’s patients may have a client with one or more of these challenges and should become trained in how to communicate effectively when interacting with someone with memory loss (online caregiver training courses include information on activities for seniors with memory loss and communication skills).
How to Communicate with someone with Memory Loss:
Always talk to Alzheimer’s patients from the front - approaching them from behind may startle them
Use a gentle and relaxed tone
Identify yourself each day (hey may not remember you every day so don’t be offended by this)
Ask questions with “yes” or “no” answers and avoid lengthy sentences which may overwhelm them
Give patients extra time to respond to better understand what you have said
Alzheimer's patients tend to copy people’s actions so use positive body language
Be patient and supportive and expect that they may not always cooperate with you
Use positive encouragement such as “good job” or “you’re doing great”
Always call your patient by their name and be respectful
Help them feel like the healthy adult that they once were
Go with the flow.....meet them where they are each day
Caregivers should remember that communicating with someone with Alzheimer's disease requires understanding, good listening skills, and most importantly, patience. Caregiverlist provides a caregiver training course for Alzheimer’s disease care that caregivers can take to learn more about helping people with the Alzheimer’s.
The Caregiver Stress Relief Photos of the Week also are nice conversation starters and a way to just sit back, relax and enjoy the view. Think of a common activity that you can keep as part of the routine each day, as a way to consistently have a conversation ice-breaker. Photos are one way to have daily conversation starters.