Senior Care and Alzheimer’s disease: Communication Tips for Family Members

Words are a source of power, and when they are taken away from you can feel helpless and alone. Without the ability to communicate verbally you may feel as though you have completely lost your sense of identity and your independence. You can no longer express your thoughts, opinions or emotions, and must rely on others to understand you and what you need. This is a difficult thing to imagine for many people, but for seniors with Alzheimer’s disease, this is reality. If you are providing senior care for an aging loved one with Alzheimer’s disease you will quickly notice that one of the most destructive symptoms is the loss of your loved one’s words. As the disease progresses, senior will find it more difficult to properly formulate thoughts and translate those into words. Even simple concepts will be difficult to express, and eventually a senior may not be able to communicate at all. This can be frightening and very upsetting. But for someone providing senior care is absolutely essential to remember that even when a senior is dealing with difficulty communicating, their communication is still important.

Senior Care in Sienna Plantation, TXWhen you find out that your loved one is dealing with Alzheimer’s disease, start preparing for difficulty with communication immediately. In the earliest stages you may find that a senior seems to have no difficulty with their words, or that they may only need a couple of seconds to think or quick reminders in order to formulate their thoughts. This can change rapidly, however, and you need to be prepared to continue communication.

When providing senior care for a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease, communication style will change. Here are some tips for how you can make communicating with your loved one easier and more comfortable for both of you:

• Remain loving and nurturing throughout all interactions. Offer encouragement and support.

• Make sure that the senior understand that he has plenty of time to express themselves and don’t try to rush him.

• Be respectful and caring in the words that you choose and in the tone with which you deliver them.

• Resist the urge to speak for a senior, or try to complete their sentences.

• Remind a senior who you are and of your name when you first see him so that he can have the trigger of remembering your relationship and of how to say your name.

• Listen very carefully to the words that a senior says. Even if these words don’t seem to make sense or not applicable to the situation, if you pay attention and tried to understand, you may realize that those words hold other meaning and be able to use those words to get a senior what he wants or needs.

• Use activities and recreation to help a senior remember and practice their words.

• When communicating with a senior with Alzheimer’s disease, speak slowly and in a low, calm tone of voice. If possible, take the senior somewhere quiet so they are not frightened by loud sounds or confused by other stimulation.

The caregivers at Comfort Keepers are available to talk with you and your family about all of your senior care needs. Comforting Solutions for In-Home Care is an elder care agency providing quality and affordable senior care in Sugar Land, TX and the surrounding areas. Call (832) 361-4323 for more information. 

About D. Flenaugh

Demetrius Flenaugh is a 20 year U.S. Army Veteran and is experienced and highly qualified in addressing the home health care needs and concerns of seniors. His passion for helping others led him to volunteer with various organizations throughout his military career.
After spending the better part of the last 20 years moving from one assignment to another, he decided that moving to Sugar Land, TX provided an excellent opportunity to grow his family and serve his community. His dedication to providing quality, in-home care enables him to have a direct impact on enhancing the quality of life of seniors and other adults who need assistance with the activities of daily living.
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