If your loved one has Alzheimer’s disease, staying connected with friends and family may become increasingly challenging. As the disease progresses, you will likely have to adapt your communication style based on your loved one’s “new normal.” Here are a few tips to keep in mind, presented by leading El Dorado County Alzheimer’s home care professionals.
Early Stage Communication
When Alzheimer’s is first diagnosed, most people with the disease can still participate in meaningful conversation. It’s important to continue to include your family member in interactions with others, especially at large events that may be slightly overwhelming. Speak directly to your loved one and take the time to listen to his or her responses, even though a person at this stage may repeat himself or herself or struggle to find the right words. Be honest about your feelings and don’t be afraid to have frank conversations. It can also be helpful to talk with the person about what method of communication he or she feels most comfortable with.
Middle Stage Communication
This stage of Alzheimer’s is considered moderate and can persist for many years. When communicating with a person in this stage of the disease, one-on-one conversation in a quiet area is usually best. Be patient and allow your loved one plenty of time to respond. Maintain eye contact, speak slowly and clearly, and avoid overwhelming your family member with lots of questions at once or complex responses to his or her queries.
Late Stage Communication
Though communicating with your loved one during the end stages of Alzheimer’s is challenging, the most important thing to remember is to treat him or her with dignity and respect. If spoken language is no longer possible, rely on touch, images, gestures, and facial expressions to convey your feelings and allow your loved one to express theirs, too.
By being prepared for the changes your loved one will go through, it can be easier to cope with the effect the disease will have on your relationship. For additional resources and support, turn to Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of elder care El Dorado County families trust. Our comprehensive Alzheimer’s care ensures seniors have the help needed to maintain safety and comfort while remaining at home. Call a dedicated Care Manager today at (916) 358-3801 and schedule a free in-home consultation.