If you are caring for someone with Alzheimer’s, you may already know that communication can become increasingly difficult as the disease progresses.
While communication can be one of the most challenging aspects of caregiving for someone with Alzheimer’s, listed below are some basic principles and strategies that can help you be a more effective communicator with someone in the later stages of this disease.
Communication Tips for Late-Stage Alzheimer’s:
- In late-stage Alzheimer’s, individuals can no longer converse or speak in ways that make sense. They may only occasionally say words or phrases. The first step to better communication with your loved one is to always exhibit understanding, patience, and good listening skills.
- Individuals impacted by Alzheimer’s can quickly become agitated. Approach the person from the front and calmly identify yourself. Try not to startle them or provoke anxiety by coming into a room suddenly or approaching them from behind.
- Individuals with significant cognitive decline can sometimes still recognize songs from their childhood. Use touch, sights, sounds, smells, and tastes to communicate with the person. For example, playing familiar music can be comforting to these individuals and can be a way to connect with them when a conversation feels impossible.
- Encourage nonverbal communication. If you don’t understand what the person is trying to say, ask them to point or gesture.
- Consider the feelings behind words or sounds. Sometimes, the emotions being expressed are more important than what’s being said, even when an individual has lost the ability to converse verbally.
- Family members and friends often say that they don’t know how to engage with their Alzheimer’s affected loved one. This can lead to further isolation and loneliness for the individual. Loved ones are encouraged to push through feelings of awkwardness or discomfort. It’s okay if you don’t know what to say; your presence and friendship are most important. Simply providing a comforting presence to a loved one can go a long way toward improving their quality of life.
Learn more about communication and Alzheimer’s from the Alzheimer's Association.
Memory Care in San Diego, California
Like many assisted living homes that specialize in memory care and senior care, at HarborView Assisted Living in Banker’s Hill, we’re dedicated to caring for Alzheimer’s and dementia patients with safety and compassion. The owners have had loved ones who needed memory care. That’s why they created an inviting, welcoming place where people living with Alzheimer’s could be cared for with dignity, respect, and compassion.
Not only is HarborView Senior Assisted Living full of gentle, well-trained, and loving staff members, it’s also situated in Banker’s Hill with a gorgeous view of the bay. Introducing your loved one to a home where they have full-time care, meals cooked for them, laundry done, and safeguards in place allows you to rest easy, knowing they are well cared for.
Schedule a Tour of HarborView Today
The decision to move your loved one into an assisted living community is often an emotional and challenging one. Rest assured that HarborView offers the highest caliber of holistic care. We treat every community member as if they were our own loved one.
Contact us to schedule a tour today! We look forward to connecting with you.