Communicating with Someone Who Has Alzheimer's

Alzheimer’s disease gradually robs a person of the ability to communicate. An individual who requires Alzheimer’s care for the later stages of the disease will be unable to communicate. However, if your loved one is still in the early stages and only requires minimal Alzheimer’s support, then compassionate communication is one way to improve his or her quality of life.

What to Avoid
Individuals with Alzheimer’s have difficulty understanding thoughts and emotions, and expressing them. Even if the things your loved one says do not make any sense, it is critical to avoid trying to reason with him or her. Likewise, avoid arguing or confronting your loved one, and refrain from reminding him or her of lapses in memory. Additionally, if your loved one displays resistance to something, such as putting on a sweater, avoid insisting upon it. Instead, try again later.

Where to Talk
The setting in which you communicate with a person with Alzheimer’s is important. Eliminate sources of distraction and background noise, such as the television or window fan. It is best to talk one-on-one with your loved one; additional people in the room can become confusing. Remember to establish eye contact.

How to Communicate
To facilitate comprehension, use short, simple, and direct sentences. For example, instead of saying, “Do you need to use the bathroom?” say, “The bathroom is here.” Always refer to objects by their names, rather than the generic, “it.” If you need to repeat a sentence, say it exactly the way you initially spoke it and allow plenty of time for comprehension. If necessary, use visual cues. For example, point to a carton of orange juice and then a bottle of water, naming the objects as you do so to ask your loved one which beverage he or she wants.

Avalon Memory Care strives toward maintaining the dignity, self-esteem, and comfort of our residents. We administer mental health care for Alzheimer’s in Dallas, Fort Worth, Carrollton, Garland, and Cedar Park. If your loved one requires Alzheimer’s care, we invite you to schedule a tour of our beautiful homes by calling (214) 752-7050.