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How To Communicate With A Person With Alzheimer's And Dementia
For loved ones, navigating care for someone with Alzheimer's and dementia can be a very difficult and challenging journey. These diseases create the potential for both physical as well as mental health issues with progression, and it can make it very difficult for the family to continue to communicate.
Both Alzheimer's and dementia directly impact brain function,specifically cognitive function, which serves a critical role in every day behavior. This means that the ability to remember, reason, think, and recall, progressively diminishes. This can occur rapidly or slowly, and the senior may have days where they are very aware of what is going on and days where they have greater challenges in maintaining their activities of daily life.
In studies, the changes in the brain associated with Alzheimer's can begin to occur more than a decade before the symptoms. Proteins buildup abnormally in the brain, causing problems with neuron functioning and damaging the ability of specific areas of the brain to function. Plaque and tangles in the brain prevent new neuropath ways from developing, which results in loss of some cognitive ability. Overtime, the damaged brain tissue actually shrinks, which causes additional problems for other parts of the brain that result in the physical and mental health symptoms associated with the diseases.
At Capital City Nurses, our nurses and caregivers provide specialized Alzheimer's and dementia care services for seniors a tall stages of the disease. We work with clients in and around Potomac, MD, and provide senior care in Great Falls, VA, allowing families to keep their loved ones at home as long as possible. We also work with the families to provide stress reduction and emotional support for family caregivers and our senior clients.
Tips To Remember Before Communicating With a Person with Alzheimer's and Dementia
One of the many supports we offer with our in-home care services is to assist family members in communicating with a loved one with Alzheimer's and dementia. Itis essential not to rush the conversation or to become frustrated with the senior and to take the time to plan for the conversation.
Some of the most important points to remember from our home health care staff include:
- Find a comfortable location – the senior should be in a familiar, comfortable area where they feel secure and safe. The senior should not feel stressed or anxious, it is more effective to postpone the conversation until they are in a relaxed state before starting the conversation. Avoid distractions or having multiple people in the room.
- Keep your message simple – important information should be conveyed in short, simple sentences. Do not add multiple concepts at one time. Speak slowly, clearly, and maintain gentle eye contact with the loved one.
- Wait for a response – people with Alzheimer's need time to formulate a response. Be patient and give the gift of time so they can engage in the conversation at their pace.
- Ask only one question at a time – avoid asking multiple questions expecting multiple options and answers. Asking simple questions and waiting for a response make the conversation easier and more productive.
- Show respect – our senior companionship programs are designed to treat your loved one with respect. Being kind, supportive, and patient throughout the conversation is an essential part of showing respect.
How to Communicate with a Person With Alzheimer's and Dementia
In addition to the tips above by our companionship care program staff, our in-home care nurses can assist family members in more effective communication techniques based on the stage of the disease.
It is important to be aware of your nonverbal cues and provide full support and attention to the senior during the conversation. Provide encouragement, support, and talk about what the senior wants todiscuss as well as your message. Take breaks throughout theconversation and consider using visual cues, such as pictures orobjects to help the senior with creating associations in the conversation.
Keep in mind, that Capital City Nurses staff is here to help families to become more effective at communicating with their loved ones. We also offer full medical support for rehab and post-op care as well as medication management, which are essential components for patients with Alzheimer's and dementia.
For more information on our in-home care services call Capital City Nurses today at 866-807-7307.