Alzheimer’s: Communication Tips

Written by Active Minds on Monday the 2nd of November 2015.

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As Alzheimer’s progresses, people living with the condition or those around them can start to notice increased difficulty with communication. If you’ve noticed your loved one losing their train of thought, inventing new words, muddling up sentences, or simply being quieter than usual, it could be that you need to adopt some new techniques when it comes to communicating.

Be patient

First things first, it’s important to be patient. It’s likely that communication difficulties are already causing your loved one frustration so indicating that you’re impatient or talking over them will only make them more distressed. The same goes for correcting people or pointing out their mistakes. A reassuring and encouraging attitude will help the person in question feel more relaxed and less self conscious.

Work on non-verbal communication

If finding the right word or phrase is proving too frustrating, it can be a good idea to encourage forms of non-verbal communication such as pointing. This can include pointing at objects around the home or at communication aids such as a care sector book that can give someone symbols to point to.

Make things easier

If you have something you need to discuss with your loved one, make sure they have the best chance of communicating by reducing distractions in the room such as televisions or radios. Speak slowly and calmly but try not to come across as patronising as this can be a further barrier to conversation.

Read between the lines

Sometimes the exact words someone is saying are not important. If you can pay attention to and assess the meaning or emotion behind their words, you’re just as likely to get to the bottom of what they’re saying. Make sure to listen as much as you can and pay attention to other visual signals as these might help you better understand what you’re loved one is trying to communicate.