Communicating with someone with Alzheimer's disease
Alzheimer's disease can be a very confusing condition to cope with. Individuals with the disease lose much of their communicative ability and their emotions may run rampant due to the fact that they no longer understand things as easily as they once did. In this article, we'll give you some basic guidelines to help you out with speaking with someone with Alzheimer's to make the process as easy as it can be for the both of you.
One thing that you always need to remember when speaking with someone with the disease is to remain patient. At times, you may feel extremely frustrated and that your efforts are merely for nothing since it can be so hard for the afflicted person to understand you. For that reason, it's important to always remain calm and use a relaxed voice when communicating with the person. It's a tough balance to maintain, with you needing to express how you feel to your loved one while trying to put it into terms that they can understand. When expressing a need or a concern to them, be sure to talk slowly and softly. It's also a necessity to do your best to use small words and simple phrases to give the patient their best chance of successfully understanding you.
Patients with Alzheimer's can feel very aggravated and hurt if they don't feel that you are being respectful of them as a person. When speaking to someone with Alzheimer's, never try to 'baby' them. Although you should speak softly and slowly, speak to them in a way that makes them feel as if they are a capable person. Also, never speak about the afflicted person as if they are not there to someone who is in the same room as you. This can make them feel very distanced from you, and may make them feel like quite the burden.
Avoiding distractions when communicating with an Alzheimer's patient is another essential step to helping them understand you. To that end, you should do your best to eliminate any outside noises before discussing something. Turn off the TV or the radio so that your loved one can focus on what you have to say without getting confused. Another way of keeping their attention is to refer to them by name before speaking to them, insuring that they are listening to what you have to say. Also, when you ask something of someone with Alzheimer's, you should give them ample opportunity to make a response. It can be a slow process for someone with the disease to come up with a proper response, and you need to respect that fact before jumping to another topic or repeating the question. If they seem to be confused trying to think of a word, you may want to suggest what you think they were looking for in a very gentle and caring manner.
Now that you know some of the basic ways of maintaining a conversation with someone who has Alzheimer's disease, it can make it a lot easier to have a talk that you can both gain from. Approach any topic with care when speaking to one who is afflicted, remembering that they are a person with feelings and emotions just the same as you.
Alzheimer's Disease on the Web
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