Alzheimer's Disease

Communication Tools for Alzheimers Caregivers

As Alzheimer’s disease progresses, patients regularly lose the facility to express themselves, accelerating their feelings of isolation and discouragement. Communication problems can cause the inappropriate and agressive behaviors that can characterize Alzheimer’s patients. This may cause caregivers to feel concerned and depressed over their inability to speak with their family and friends. Learning easy techniques for conversing with Alzheimer’s patients can make this less difficult and thus improve the connection between caregivers and patients. To better communicate with Alzheimer’s patients, caregivers must first understand some of the challenges their family and friends face with the disease.

Because of their shortened attention spans, Alzheimer’s patients frequently become distracted and lose their train of thought. A boring conversation partner or a loud environment may impede their ability to have a productive dialogue.

Poor short term memory frequently causes them to repeat things they’ve already said. They may also forget what they were already told, annoying their conversation partner. It also takes much longer for them to verbalise what they are thinking, and they may not be able to grasp certain words. Finally, patients who are hard of hearing or legally blind, which are communication roadblocks in their own right, could find communication doubly annoying. When communicating with Alzheimer’s patients, it is useful for caregivers to keep these reservations in mind in order to communicate with their loved one from a place of compassion instead of impatience or tension.

While the restrictions that Alzheimer’s patients face in communicating are great, using some straightforward creative listening strategies can knock down plenty of the barriers between patient and caregiver. First, when conversing with Alzheimer’s patients, it is vital to keep in mind that they need to express themselves and may do so with their nonverbal expressions of emotion and behaviors as much as with their words.

These styles of communication shouldn’t be overlooked. Likewise, caregivers must listen nonverbally too with eye contact, a smile, or even through giving hugs.

Interrupting or disagreeing, which are obstacles to conversation in ordinary circumstances, can be especially exasperating for an Alzheimer’s patient, leading to disruptive behaviors. Caregivers must be patient and permit their loved ones additional time to communicate. Ultimately, it is vital to translate statements made by Alzheimer’s patients as both literal expressions and expressions of emotion.

Caregivers can also employ varied systems to boost their probabilities of being accepted by Alzheimer’s patients. They should create rapport first by introducing themselves and using the patient’s name. They should concentrate on fundamentals – talking slowly and clearly for short periods. If they have instructions to supply, they should break them down into manageable chunks that will not stress the patient’s attention span or memory.

Instead of using questions that need further reasoning from patients, they should ask yes or no questions. Instead of asking “How do you feel?,” instead ask “Are you feeling tired?” This recommendation runs counter to normal communication, but nonverbal communication and oral replies requiring simple words can speed communication with Alzheimer’s patients. Most significantly, caregivers should express themselves with love and concern rather than disappointment or impatience when talking with Alzheimer’s patients.

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