Over the years as I have worked with Alzheimer's, communication has been a struggle for family. Frustration quickly enters and then things escalate.
"Alzheimer's disease presents many challenges, and communication is a big one. Try these tips to ease frustration and improve communication.By Mayo Clinic staff
What to expect
- Lose his or her train of thought
- Struggle to organize words logically
- Need more time to understand what you're saying
- Curse or use offensive language
What you can do to help
- Speak clearly. Introduce yourself. Speak in a clear, straightforward manner.
- Show respect. Avoid secondary baby talk and diminutive phrases, such as "good girl." Don't assume that your loved one can't understand you, and don't talk about your loved one as if he or she weren't there.
- Stay present. Maintain eye contact, and stay near your loved one so that he or she will know that you're listening and trying to understand.
- Avoid distractions. Communication may be difficult — if not impossible — against a background of competing sights and sounds.
- Keep it simple. Use short sentences and plain words. As the disease progresses, yes-no questions may work best, and only one question at a time is best. Break down requests into single steps.
- Don't interrupt. It may take longer than you expect for your loved one to process and respond. Avoid criticizing, hurrying and correcting.
- Use visual cues. Sometimes gestures or other visual cues promote better understanding than words alone. Rather than simply asking if your loved one needs to use the toilet, for example, take him or her to the toilet and point to it.
- Don't argue. Your loved one's reasoning and judgment will decline over time. To spare anger and agitation, don't argue with your loved one.
- Stay calm. Even when you're frustrated, keep your voice gentle. Your nonverbal cues, including the tone of your voice, can send a clearer message than what you actually say.