When seniors are first diagnosed with mild Alzheimer’s, they should be able to participate in conversations and clearly explain their thoughts. However, as this cognitive disorder progresses, they might not be able to hold a conversation or follow complex sentences. Here are a few tips you can use to effectively communicate with an aging loved one who has mild to moderate Alzheimer’s.
Get Rid of Distractions
Alzheimer’s makes it very difficult to concentrate when there are any external stimuli, including bright lights, moving shadows, loud noises, and background sounds. Before you start a conversation with your loved one, try to remove any stimuli that might distract him or her. If you need to convey an important message, you might want to take your loved one to a comfortable and familiar location, such as the bedroom or living room.
A trained caregiver with experience in caring for seniors with Alzheimer’s can be a fantastic resource for family members. Families looking for top-rated Toronto elderly home care providers can reach out to Home Care Assistance. From respite care to specialized Alzheimer’s, dementia, stroke, and Parkinson’s care, there are many ways we can make life easier for seniors and their loved ones.
Enhance Your Posture and Stance
Settling into the correct posture can make your conversation with your loved one much easier. As a general rule, you should always try to face a senior with Alzheimer’s when speaking with him or her. You also need to meet on your loved one’s level and make eye contact whenever possible. Once you’re in the correct position, your loved one won’t be as distracted by other sights and sounds.
Stick to Simple Sentences and Questions
Seniors who have mild Alzheimer’s might be able to follow a few sentences at a time, but they’ll probably lose that ability as the disease progresses. If your loved one can’t keep up with a conversation, transition to short and simple sentences. Most experts agree that caregivers should stick to yes-or-no questions when communicating with seniors who have moderate Alzheimer’s.
Professional caregivers with training and expertise in Alzheimer’s care can often identify the sources of communication issues and respond effectively and compassionately. Aging adults with Alzheimer’s disease can benefit from receiving professional Alzheimer’s care. Toronto seniors need regular mental stimulation when managing memory-related conditions, and a reliable in-home caregiver who has extensive training in Alzheimer’s care can be a great asset.
Use Visual Cues
One of the best ways to communicate with a senior with Alzheimer’s is to stimulate multiple areas of the brain at the same time. Whenever possible, try to point at any objects you’re describing or talking about. An example would be pointing to a plate or bowl when you ask what your loved one would like to eat.
Don’t Shy Away from Physical Contact
While some seniors who have Alzheimer’s don’t like to be touched, most enjoy physical contact. Touching your loved one’s arm or putting your hand on his or her shoulder may help him or her focus on you. Physical contact is also a great way to show your loved one that you care, and it could make him or her feel more comfortable in your presence.
Be Prepared to Repeat Yourself
Even if you’re an excellent communicator, you should be ready to repeat yourself. Slowly repeating your sentences gives your loved one a chance to digest the information you’re trying to convey. When you repeat your sentences, face your loved one, look him or her in the eyes, and speak as clearly as possible.
For seniors living with Alzheimer’s who have difficulty with comprehension or expressing their needs, these suggestions can ease the communication process. If your senior loved one has been diagnosed with a serious condition and needs help with tasks like meal prep, transportation, bathing, and grooming, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of home care Toronto, ON, families can trust. We also offer comprehensive care for seniors with dementia, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s. If your loved one needs help with the challenges of aging, call one of our compassionate Care Managers today at (416) 488-8777.