Witnessing the deterioration of a loved one who suffers from Alzheimer’s disease, or another kind of dementia is indescribably painful. As the disease progresses, minor forgetfulness morphs into severe impairment, causing communication to eventually become an issue.
What to Say to Someone With Alzheimer’s
One in ten Americans have a family member with Alzheimer’s, and one in three knows someone with the disorder. As people live longer, more and more Americans are suffering from memory disorders.
Knowing strategies on how to act and what to tell someone with Alzheimer’s or dementia will help families connect emotionally to their loved ones. As with any brain disorder, communication involves special approaches.
6 Ways to Act Around Someone With Alzheimer’s or Dementia
1. Create a Good Environment
Create a comfortable atmosphere that doesn’t have many distractions, so your loved one can concentrate all their mental energy on the conversation.
2. Listen to Them
Nod your head and engage in dialog with your loved one. If you don’t understand anything, ask open-ended questions respectfully.
3. Be Open Minded
Be compassionate and don’t try to correct one of your loved ones when they’re wrong. Allow yourself to go along with their illusions and errors to see where the talk can take you.
4. Talk Calmly
Use a warm tone and calm voice. Don’t be condescending and use heightened emotions, clearly speak using a relaxed tone.
5. Say Their Name
Avoid pronouns and refer to people by their names. Be sure to greet your loved one by their name.
6. Keep Focused
Hold eye contact around your loved one and smile. Maintaining an accommodating attitude can help your loved one feel at ease and relaxed body language will help your loved one realize that you are a familiar person, even if they don’t know or remember exactly who you are.
Communicating to Someone With Alzheimer’s
Individuals with memory impairment have trouble expressing emotions and thoughts and difficulty understanding others. Even if you think that your loved one has become a different person and is no longer there it’s still them. You just have to figure out a different way to reach them and know what to say to an Alzheimer’s or dementia patient.
What to say:
- Accept the blame when something’s wrong
- Agree with them or distract them to a different subject or activity
- Allow plenty of time for comprehension
- Avoid insistence
- Be cheerful, patient, and reassuring
- Go with the flow
- Have patience
- Don’t argue
- Don’t confront
- Don’t question recent memory
- Don’t reason
- Don’t remind them they forget
- Don’t take it personally
It’s also important to recognize what you are up against. Memory disorders continue to get worse with time, so your loved one will not improve; and you have to accept that. You need to have patience and make the conversation as pleasant as possible.
There is no treatment for Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia at this time and the brain is very complex. Your loved one is going to have both bad and good days and you’re going to just have to be patient. Take steps by learning how to act around someone with Alzheimer’s or how to support someone with Alzheimer’s.
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We offer a comprehensive activity program that includes both physical and social activities to encourage emotional well-being. Our staff is trained to assist those with depression. If you or a loved one are considering assisted living, contact Reno Valley today to learn more about our services or tour our community.6