Alzheimer's disease affects approximately 5.3 million people in the United States, according to the Alzheimer's Association. If one of your family members was diagnosed with this brain disease, you likely feel scared and unsure of what to do. Although you can't cure this disease, you can learn how to communicate with your loved one better. Here are five helpful tips for communicating with an Alzheimer's patient:
Ask Simple Questions
A person with Alzheimer's disease has trouble processing information, so it is very important to keep your questions as simple as possible. For example, instead of asking your family member where he wants to go today, ask him if he would rather go to the museum or park.
Remove All Distractions
Your loved one will have a very difficult time understanding what you are trying to stay if there is a television or radio playing in the background. Before you start a conversation with your family member, you should get rid of anything that may distract him. This way, he can solely focus on what you are trying to communicate.
When your family member takes a long time to respond to your question or says something that is not true, it may be tempting to just interrupt him. However, you should not do this. Interrupting your loved one while he speaks is disrespectful and can frustrate him further.
Use Visual Cues
It is easier to get your point across to an Alzheimer's patient if you use visual cues. For instance, if you want to tell your family member that you want to make lunch, you could point to the kitchen. If you want him to brush his hair, you should pick up a hairbrush.
Do not Use Baby Talk
Baby talk is something you should definitely avoid with an Alzheimer's patient because it shows a lack of respect. For example, after your loved one finishes eating his meal, do not say, "That's a good boy!" Just because your family member takes a little longer to respond, does not mean he does not understand what you are saying.
Speaking to someone with Alzheimer's disease is not always easy, but communication is not impossible. If you follow these helpful tips, you will find it a lot simpler to communicate with your loved one. Try not to get frustrated with him and understand that the disease is not something he can control. For more information, contact companies like Health Concepts LTD.