Communicating with a Loved One with Alzheimer's Disease

Communication impairment is one of the hallmarks of Alzheimer’s disease. As the disease grows progressively more severe, an individual will find it difficult to comprehend conversations, organize words in a logical manner, and find the appropriate words for a particular topic. Although it can be difficult to communicate with a loved one who is receiving Alzheimer’s care, making the effort can offer comfort to your loved one.

Starting a Conversation
Individuals who are receiving Alzheimer’s care often have trouble concentrating on conversations. It can be helpful to make sure you have your loved one’s attention before speaking. Make eye contact with your loved one, touch his or her shoulder, or say his or her name. It is best to have a conversation in a distraction-free environment. Individuals with Alzheimer’s can easily become confused when there is background noise or there are too many people speaking at once. Throughout the conversation, keep your sentences simple and direct, and avoid open-ended questions. Give your loved one plenty of time to process each sentence and to formulate a response.

Communicating Nonverbally
As your loved one requires a more intensive level of Alzheimer’s support and his or her communication abilities decline, nonverbal communication becomes more important. Soothe your loved one by displaying friendly facial expressions and body language. For example, instead of crossing your arms, place your hand on your loved one’s hand. Use gestures to facilitate comprehension. For example, while saying, “Lunch is ready,” point to the plates on the table. Remember to keep your tone of voice pleasant and calm.

As a national award winner, Avalon Memory Care is widely considered as being the flagship of alternative care for individuals who require mental health care for dementia in Fort Worth, Dallas, Cedar Park, and beyond. Our continuum of care emphasizes the need for each of our residents to feel comfortable and secure, and to engage in meaningful activities to maintain quality of life. Family members who require Alzheimer’s care for their loved ones can contact us at (214) 752-7050 to discuss our range of services.