Communicating with Alzheimer’s: How to Best Help Your Loved One

disabled senior with caregiver outside on park bench

Learn how to better communicate with your loved one with Alzheimer’s.

Alzheimer’s disease has a strong effect on language. The disease affects speech and the usage of words, as well as the comprehension of words. As the disease progresses through the later phases, language as a means of socializing becomes less effective, and friends and family may need to employ alternate methods for communicating to interact with their loved one.

The elder care Lake Forest IL caregivers at Partners in Senior Care recommend the tips below to help when communicating with a loved one in the later stages of Alzheimer’s:

  • Always use a ‘gentle tone’ – slower, lower, smiling.
  • Always treat the individual as an adult, with respect, and make your best effort to be patient, kind, adaptable, accommodating and calm.
  • Make certain there are reduced potential distractions such as the TV or radio and maintain eye contact.
  • To orient the senior and keep his or her attention, call the senior by name and tell the person who you are, even if you are the spouse or child.
  • Use short, simple sentences and ask easy-to-answer questions such as, “Would you like ham or chicken?” rather than, “What would you like for lunch?”
  • Be sure not to debate or try to change the person’s mind, even if you believe that the request is irrational.
  • Repeat information and questions. If the individual does not react, wait a moment for him or her to understand what you’re saying. Then try asking again.
  • Emphasize the feelings, not the facts, as sometimes the emotions being conveyed are more important than what is being said.
  • Let the person give some thought to and describe whatever he or she wants. If the senior utilizes the wrong word or cannot find a word, try guessing the correct one. If you still don’t uncover what is being said, ask him or her to point or gesture.

Partners in Senior Care’s in-home caregivers specialize in sensitive Alzheimer’s and dementia care. Our caregivers know how to gently encourage and mentally stimulate a senior with Alzheimer’s disease, keeping him or her safe in the comfort of home. Not only can Partners in Senior Care provide respite care to allow family caregivers a much-needed break from care, but we can also coordinate community services as needed, such as adult day centers for Alzheimer’s, offer overnight care to help manage some of the more overwhelming aspects of the disease (such as sundowning), and so much more. Contact us today at 847-548-1330 to learn more about your elder care Lake Forest IL options or to request a free in-home consultation.