- Ensure you’re using a gentle tone – slower, lower, smiling.
- Treat the older adult with the respect he or she deserves and do your best to be patient, kind, flexible, encouraging and soothing.
- Ensure that there are few distractions such as the television or radio, and maintain eye contact.
- To help ground the person and obtain his or her focus, call the senior by name and tell the person who you are, even if you are the spouse or child.
- Always speak in short, straightforward sentences and ask simple questions such as, “Would you like a hamburger or chicken?” rather than, “What would you like for dinner?”
- Don’t argue or try to change the person’s mind, even if you believe that the request is irrational.
- Repeat information and questions. If the person doesn’t react, wait a moment for him or her to understand the request, and then ask again.
- Concentrate on the feelings, not the facts, as oftentimes the emotions being conveyed are more important than what is being said.
- Let the individual give thought to and describe whatever he or she wants. If the individual utilizes the wrong word or is unable to find a word, try guessing the correct one. If you still can’t understand what is being said, ask the individual to point or gesture.
Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia have a profound impact on a person’s ability to communicate. The disease has an effect on speech and the effective use of words, as well as the comprehension of words. As the disease progresses into its later stages, language as a method of interacting becomes less effective, and family and friends may need to incorporate alternative Alzheimer’s strategies for communicating to interact with their loved one. Use Advanced Home Health Care’s tips below to help in communication and understanding: