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Communicating with an Elderly Loved One Who Has Alzheimer’s

One of the most challenging aspects of Alzheimer’s disease is how it impairs communication skills. Seniors with Alzheimer’s may lose the language skills, memory, and cognitive function required for conversations, yet they get stressed and upset when they cannot understand others or communicate their needs. Caregivers may need to modify their communication methods to better discuss things with their senior loved one. The following tips can help you communicate better with a loved one who has Alzheimer’s disease.

Be Patient

Be aware that communicating with a senior with Alzheimer’s will take more time than the average conversation. It may take longer to think of the right word or decide how to state a sentence. Trying to rush or interrupt your loved one may make him or her feel pressured and frustrated. Remain quiet and wait patiently for your loved one to respond.

Communication is an important aspect of providing high-quality home care for seniors with Alzheimer’s. If you are the primary family caregiver for an elderly loved one and need additional assistance providing high-quality non-medical home care, Toronto Home Care Assistance can help. We are a leading home care agency committed to changing the way seniors age.

Reduce Distractions

Seniors in the middle stages of Alzheimer’s often get easily distracted, and they may have difficulty conversing when the brain is busy trying to process everything in the environment. A quiet, familiar space with few distractions is often the best place to discuss things. Keep your loved one’s attention by holding eye contact, and ask a single question or make one statement at a time.

Try Alternative Communication Methods

Alzheimer’s affects each part of the brain differently, so some seniors may remain fluent in one conversational method while facing difficulty with another. In the early stages, some seniors find it easier to communicate by writing or making phone calls instead of engaging in direct conversations. In later Alzheimer’s stages, seniors often communicate through facial gestures and hand movements. Some find it easier to use communication boards that let them point at the words or images they wish to express. 

Seniors with early-stage Alzheimer’s may need help performing day-to-day tasks around the house. Find out how a Toronto, ON, caregiver can help your senior loved one enjoy a higher quality of life by reaching out to Home Care Assistance. All of our professional respite and live-in caregivers are trained in comprehensive Alzheimer’s, dementia, Parkinson’s, and stroke care, and they can also assist seniors with basic daily tasks like exercise, cooking, bathing, and light housekeeping.

Say Things as Clearly and Simply as Possible

When instructing your loved one in daily tasks, provide basic step-by-step instructions. Avoid complicated words or slang, and speak in shorter sentences. Asking yes or no questions instead of open-ended inquiries may help your loved one focus on communication.

Avoid Contradicting Your Loved One

Seniors with Alzheimer’s are often stubborn, and even those who are not stubborn tend to get distressed when corrected. You may find it easier to communicate with your loved one when you do not spend all your time reminding him or her of the right time frames, names, or words. Listen to the intent of what is being said instead of trying to correct each aspect of your loved one’s language, memory, and grammar.

For many families in Toronto, ON, Alzheimer’s care is an essential component of helping their elderly loved ones remain healthy, safe, and happy in the comfort of home. From cognitive stimulation to help with tasks like meal prep, light housekeeping, and transportation, the caregivers at Home Care Assistance are the top choice for families who cannot provide the Alzheimer’s care their aging loved ones need and deserve. Call us at (416) 488-8777 to schedule a free in-home consultation.

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