Thursday, July 14th, 2016 1:43 pm | by San Diego Home Caregivers
The most common form of dementia is Alzheimer’s Disease. Below are some useful communication tools that we thought would help families in San Diego that have a loved one afflicted with Alzheimer’s Disease.
- There really is no point disputing a faulty fact or memory. Your loved one with dementia truly believes it, so arguing will only cause stress. And even if they agree with you, he or she almost certainly will not recall doing so.
- Accept their reality. Dementia is going to give your loved one a view of the past AND the present that will be different than yours. They have forgotten who has passed away, they aren’t sure what year it is, etc. So if they say, “When can we go see my mom?” and you know that their mother has passed, do not say, “Your mom is dead.” Say something like, “Let’s go tomorrow to La Jolla and see her” and move on to another subject. The truth is not so important, keeping them calm and happy is the goal as their Caregiver.
- Don’t give too many instructions and ask them to help. Everyone wants to be helpful. The word “help” is key. Can you help me set the table? Or fold the laundry? Everyone wants to feel productive in their day.
- Reintroduce yourself every time you enter the room. You do not want to assume that they know you, even if you’re their primary caregiver, a family member or close friend. Also, you don’t want to scare someone with dementia by suddenly appearing at their side. Always approach from the front so that they can see and hear you.
- Do not quiz them. Asking such things as “Do you remember what you had for breakfast?”, “When’s your birthday?” and “Don’t you remember my name?” can be very frustrating for someone who cannot remember. Instead, offer soft reminders: “The muffin you had for breakfast seemed good.” “Look who’s here: It’s your grandson Peter.”
- Choose simple words, and use a calm and confident voice.
- Don’t act disappointed in front of them if they don’t recognize you as their Caregiver or say something that doesn’t make sense, and don’t talk as if they aren’t there. For example, when in a group, always include them and make lots of eye contact.
- Minimize distractions. Turn off the television or radio to help them focus on interacting.
- Again, make eye contact when speaking, and call them by name, making sure you have his or her attention before you start to talk. Allow plenty of time for a response. Sometimes it can take a while and try not to interrupt when they are speaking or taking their time to speak.
We hope that this proved helpful. For more tips on how to communicate effectively with someone that has Alzheimer’s Disease here in San Diego, please visit: https://www.alz.org/care/dementia-communication-tips.asp
To visit the Alzheimer’s Association San Diego Chapter online, visit: http://www.alz.org/sandiego/