AlzU Blog

Tips on Effective Communication at Various Stages of Alzheimer's Disease- Part II

More tips on effectively communicating with seniors at various stages of Alzheimer’s disease;

Give your loved one choices.  Instead of making all of the decision for him/her.  Ask which outfit he would rather wear, or what food she prefers.  Keep the choices to only a couple, to avoid an overload in stimuli.  Giving choices provides dignity and allows your loved one to have some control over his/her life. 

Avoid barking out orders, use “I” statements instead of “you” statements.  For example, instead of saying “you need to take your medication now,” re-word the statement into; “I will help you to be sure you get your medication on time, it’s important for your Alzheimer’s prevention program take your medicine at the right time each day.”

Studies show that most people do not respond well to being bossed around.  Usually giving orders results in acting out behavior such as arguing, ignoring and refusing to do what the person is being told to do. 

Other tips for communicating with your loved one with AD;

•Avoid using patronizing tone of voice (particularly with those in the later stages of dementia)
•Keep background noise at a minimum so your loved one can hear you clearly
•Stay aware of your own non-verbal communication (facial expressions and hand gestures)
•Look directly into the face of your loved one when you speak and/or listen
•Use pictures and visual aids when necessary to help translate ideas
•Ask open ended questions
•Use active listening skills (such as repeat back when you think you heard him/her say)
•Express understanding
•Cue in to detect fear or other negative emotions and express support
•Consider cultural beliefs
•Encourage active participation in care giving tasks
•Avoid assumptions
•Ask questions to clarify
•Speak clearly at a level your loved one can understand
•Verify your loved one comprehends what you are saying
•Use humor when appropriate
•Simplify statements
•Use verbatim repetition or paraphrase sentences to help facilitate comprehension when conversing with adults with dementia

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