Communicating with a loved one with Alzheimer's or another form of dementia presents challenges that can lead to frustration and misunderstandings on both sides of the conversation. To help avoid confusion, it’s imperative for caregivers to exercise patience and practice active listening and speaking strategies.
The following tips from the Mayo Clinic will help improve the way you communicate with your loved one while benefitting their cognitive and emotional outlook, building a stronger bond, and making the most of each interaction.
→ Always be patient. Listen closely and allow enough time for your loved one to talk uninterrupted.
→ Know what to expect. Your loved one may have trouble remembering words or communicating clearly. They may repeat words or ideas or mix unrelated thoughts together.
→ Try to understand what your loved one is saying based on the context and use surrounding information to interpret the meaning. If they are struggling to formulate an idea, try guessing.
→ Maintain eye contact while speaking and always call your loved one by their name.
→ Use nonverbal actions to show support, such as gestures, visual cues and other body language.
→ If your loved one is having trouble expressing themselves, always be kind and encouraging.
→ Avoid using "baby talk" and don’t talk down to your loved one or as if they were not there.
→ Limit visual distractions and background noise, which can make it difficult to hear or concentrate.
→ Use short sentences, ask yes or no questions and break down requests into single steps.
→ Speak clearly and calmly. Take a break if you get frustrated and avoid criticizing, correcting or arguing.
At WellAge Senior Living, our all-inclusive memory care communities support individuals living with Alzheimer’s or dementia according to each resident’s individual care plan, which is determined prior to move-in. Our knowledgeable team members use proven strategies to communicate with residents and help them develop and refine their cognitive skills, form meaningful new relationships, and take advantage of dynamic programming offering socialization, stimulation and engagement.
In addition to receiving top-quality care, memory care residents have access to a secure, home-like neighborhood, comfortable dining, living and activity rooms, three chef-prepared meals a day, medication assistance and daily living support, with experienced team members on staff for true peace of mind.
Contact WellAge today to learn more about our person-centered approach and find a memory care neighborhood near you.