Helping a person with dementia often requires a caregiver to alter his or her response to the person’s behavior and make adjustments in the person’s environment. Caregiving options will change as the disease progresses, and how you take care of a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease should be specific to the stage they are at.
Typically an individual with Alzheimer’s may not understand as well as he or she used to, so one of the first adaptations to make as a caregiver is in how you communicate.
Ways to improve communication:
- Speak slowly
- Limit distractions such as television or other conversations
- Use simple words and explanations
- Ask one question at a time
- Face the individual so he or she can focus on your words
- Use a calm, relaxed tone
- Do not use phrases like “you’re repeating yourself” or “don’t you remember”
Sometimes it may be hard to recognize that the confusion and personality changes in your loved one are the result of the disease. Try to keep in mind that your loved one cannot help the behavior; he or she is not acting that way on purpose. Make an effort to understand non-verbal feelings when your loved one is unable to express themselves through words. Your body language and tone of voice speak volumes to a person suffering from Alzheimer’s, so try to express yourself through smiling, hugging, and soothing tones. This will help your loved one to feel happy and relaxed instead of confused and frustrated.
Darol Tuttle, Attorney at Law, P.S. services clients in Washington State to include Thurston County, Pierce County, King County and Snohomish County to include cities such as Olympia, Tacoma, Gig Harbor, Federal Way, Puyallup, Sumner, Auburn, Kent, Seattle, Burien, Des Moines, Renton, Kirkland, Bellevue, Redmond, Seattle, Lynnwood, Edmonds and Everett.