Despite the challenges, you can communicate effectively with a loved one who has Alzheimer’s. Consider these tips provided by the Mayo Clinic:
Speak in a clear, straightforward manner.
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 though he or she weren’t there.
Remember, however, your loved one isn’t acting this way on purpose. Don’t take it personally. Use patience and understanding to help your loved one feel safe and secure.
- Stay calm. Even when you’re frustrated, keep your voice gentle. Your nonverbal cues, including the tone of your voice, may send a clearer message than what you actually say.
- 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.
- Show interest. 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
- Don’t interrupt. It may take several minutes for your loved one to respond. Avoid criticizing, hurrying and correcting.
- Keep it simple. Use short sentences and plain words. Ask yes-no questions, and ask only one question at a time. Break down tasks or requests into single steps.
- 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 bathroom, for example, take him or her to the toilet.