Communication for Alzheimer’s patients is crucial as it allows them to build and maintain relationships with their caregivers. It also allows them to express their concerns and needs.
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Effective communication with an Alzheimer’s patient requires caregivers to interpret the patient’s tone of voice and non-verbal cues. As the disease progresses, communication changes, and it is essential to develop and use effective communication strategies that respond to the changes. Here are some strategies a family caregiver or a professional caregiver can use for better communication with an Alzheimer’s patient:
Limit Any Potential Distractions
While communicating with an Alzheimer’s patient, it is important to avoid any distractions that could divert their attention. Noise from the TV or Radio can take away an opportunity to communicate. Therefore, use quiet places for one-on-one conversations.
Speak Naturally and Use Non-Verbal Cues
Speaking to the patient like an infant with a high pitch or getting close to their face can be very humiliating to the patient. To get their attention, use a gentle touch and call them by their names. The use of non-verbal cues such as gestures, eye contact, and facial expressions contributes to making a connection with the patient.
Talk One Thing at A Time
Avoid discussing different topics or subjects at a time since it could lead to confusion for the patient. In the conversation, remain connected and present to ensure the patient maintains their line of thought on the subject being discussed.
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Focus on Simple Conversations
Keep all conversations short and simple by breaking information into smaller chunks. Avoid repeating statements or jumping in when the patient struggles to find a word; rather, rephrase statements and repeat familiar words or names. It ensures that the patient is attentive and avoids any derailment of their thought process.
Sometimes the patient might appear confused over their reality or resist some activities such as personal grooming. Find ways to work around their resisters or confusion without causing any aggression. For instance, if a patient (retired) asks to drive to work because it is their duty, that could mean that they are not adequately engaged. As a caregiver, you can create activities to keep them occupied.
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Be Patient, Compassionate and Avoid Being Aggressive
Show respect and listen actively when an Alzheimer’s patient talks or tries to express themselves. Instead of ridiculing what they say, take everything they say into consideration and act on it as long as it does not compromise care. Avoid arguing or talking back by learning to interpret their attitudes and responses to certain situations.
Understand the Significant Role You Play as A Caregiver
As a caregiver, you should realize that you will have good and bad days while giving care or communicating. It would help if you aimed to provide them with your best, even on their bad days. Because the patient relies on you for comfort, emotional, and mental support, learn to listen and communicate with them truthfully.
Residing in the Greater Boston Area and need home care for a loved one with Alzheimer’s? Get in touch with us for the best home care services in Boston.
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