At Astin Home Care Agency, we know that one of the saddest experiences in life is witnessing the deterioration of a parent with Alzheimer’s disease. You see, during the early stages of the disease, your loved one may still have the ability to communicate and understand things well, with only a few signs of forgetfulness here and there. But as the disease progresses, you may witness your loved one lose the ability to not only speak but to understand speech as well.
“The first thing Alzheimer’s (and other types of dementia) robs a family is the ability to get along with their loved one. Communication is the means by which we maintain relationships with those we love. Consequently, when a loved one is no longer able to express themselves and understand us as they once did, it can put a strain on the relationship,” explains Astin’s owner and Administrator, Coach Michele Ellis-Williams. “If you can’t understand each other, how will you get along? This is the time your loved one needs you the most! And the only way you can express your love is by teaching yourself how to communicate and connect with them during this difficult time.”
To help you along, we have assembled the following tips, courtesy of Coach Michele. Feel free to share them with your family members and everyone involved:
How to Understand and Communicate With Someone Who Has Dementia
- Expect your loved one’s condition to deteriorate – Unfortunately, dementia gets worse as time goes by. Recognize that your loved one will gradually exhibit more difficulties understanding you as well as expressing themselves.
- Some days will be good, while others will be bad – don’t be surprised when some days, your loved one seems to be getting better only to show signs of deterioration a few days later.
- Be ready to speak your loved one’s first language – in many cases, patients who have been speaking a different language quite comfortably for the longest time end up reverting to their first language as the disease progresses.
- Use simple language to communicate – use very basic words and discuss one issue at a time. While at it, avoid idioms, nicknames, and slang.
- Speak slowly and clearly – speaking slowly and clearly, with proper grammar and pronunciation can help your loved one to understand you better.
- Exercise lots of patience – exercise patience by listening carefully to what your loved one is saying.
- Always introduce yourself – unfortunately, there may come a time when your loved one appears to have forgotten you. In that case, always introduce yourself first, and address them by their name.
- Avoid baby talk – your loved one is not a baby, avoid using a “cutesy” voice on them as it will only make them feel minimized or inferior.
- Use non-verbal communication –non-verbal communication include cues like smiling and making eye contact. It will help put your patient at ease and will make it easier for them to understand things.
Home Care for Seniors with Dementia
At Astin Home Care Agency, we offer in-home care services that have been specially designed for persons with all types of dementia. We understand that, as your loved one’s condition deteriorates, you may be unable to provide the care they need.
Our team of dementia caregivers has been familiarized with the stages of Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia, how they manifest, what to expect, problematic behaviors, safety issues, and other issues related to the disease.
This type of in-home care also comes with the usual caretaking tasks, which can include meal preparation, light housekeeping, offering assistance with bathing and other personal care tasks, and is, therefore, a great option for Alzheimer’s patients who wish to live independently, i.e., without having to rely on their friends or relatives.
If you would love to learn more about our Alzheimer’s/dementia care services, or to simply talk to us about your loved one’s condition, feel free to reach out to us through the details provided below. We are more than willing to assist you in any way we can.