Alzheimer's disease is a devastating disease that slowly destroys a person's memory. According to the National Institute on Aging, approximately 5 million Americans who are 65 or older could have Alzheimer's disease. When your loved one is suffering from this disease, it can be difficult to deal with. However, if you learn how to properly communicate with a person with Alzheimer's disease, things will be a lot easier. Here are seven helpful tips for communicating with an Alzheimer's patient.
Get Rid Of Distractions
When you want to have a conversation with an Alzheimer's patient, you should get rid of all the distractions in the room. Someone with Alzheimer's disease already has trouble concentrating and distractions, such as the television or radio, will just make things more difficult. If you have a conversation with your loved one in a quiet setting, he will be able to focus a lot better.
Ask Just One Question At A Time
Alzheimer's patients can only process a little information at a time, so you should avoid asking your loved one multiple questions. For example, if you want to find out what your loved one wants to do one day, just simply ask, "What activity would you like to do today?" If you ask, "What do you want to do today? Do you want to go to the park or beach?", it will just frustrate an Alzheimer's patient.
Dealing with an Alzheimer's patient can get frustrating at times, but you should never argue with one. For example, if your loved one says something that did not really happen, just nod and allow him to talk. Arguing with an Alzheimer's patient will get you nowhere and likely upset your loved one.
Always Make Eye Contact
When you want to speak to an Alzheimer's patient, it is very important to make eye contact. If you try speaking to your loved one across the room, he might not realize that you are talking to him. Just sit across from your loved one and look him in the eyes as you speak to him. Doing this will make the conversation a lot easier on both of you.
Rely On Nonverbal Cues
Nonverbal cues are really important when you communicate with an Alzheimer's patient. For example, if you are done cooking dinner, point to the kitchen as you tell your loved one that dinner is served. Also, smiling, rubbing his back and giving him a kiss on the cheek can make an Alzheimer's patient feel much happier and more relaxed.
Do Not Interrupt
If an Alzheimer's patient is taking a while to form his thoughts, it can be tempting to interrupt and help him. However, making interruptions all the time can really frustrate your loved one. Instead, be patient and give your loved one enough time to answer your questions.
Avoid Baby Talk
Even though your loved one has lost a lot of his memory, it does not mean he can't completely understand you. Never use baby talk or phrases that will make your loved one feel embarrassed. For instance, if your father finishes his dinner, do not say, "That's a good boy." It is very important to show an Alzheimer's patient respect at all times.
Dealing with an Alzheimer's patient is definitely not easy, but communication does not have to be impossible. If you follow these helpful tips, you can communicate with your loved one a lot easier. Remember that your loved one can't help having this disease and always be patient with him. Being understanding and loving will help an Alzheimer's patient feel a lot more secure.