Witnessing the deterioration of a loved one who suffers from Alzheimer’s disease, or another kind of dementia is indescribably painful. As the disease progresses, minor forgetfulness morphs into severe impairment, causing communication to eventually become an issue.
What to Say to Someone With Alzheimer’s
One in 10 Americans have a family member with Alzheimer’s, and one in three knows someone with the disorder. As people live longer, more and more Americans are suffering from memory disorders.
Knowing strategies on how to act and what to tell someone with Alzheimer’s or dementia will help families connect emotionally to their loved ones. As with any brain disorder, communication involves special approaches.
Ways to Act Around Someone With Alzheimer’s or Dementia
Create a Good Environment
Create a comfortable atmosphere that doesn’t have many distractions, so your loved one can concentrate all their mental energy on the conversation.
Listen to Them
Nod your head and engage in dialog with your loved one. If you don’t understand anything, ask open-ended questions respectfully.
Be Open Minded
Be compassionate and don’t try to correct one of your loved ones when they’re wrong. Allow yourself to go along with their illusions and errors to see where the talk can take you.
Use a warm tone and calm voice. Don’t be condescending and use heightened emotions, clearly speak using a relaxed tone.
Say Their Name
Avoid pronouns and refer to people by their names. Be sure to greet your loved one by their name.
Hold eye contact around your loved one and smile. Maintaining an accommodating attitude can help your loved one feel at ease and relaxed body language will help your loved one realize that you are a familiar person, even if they don’t know or remember exactly who you are.
Communicating to Someone With Alzheimer’s
Individuals with memory impairment have trouble expressing emotions and thoughts and difficulty understanding others. Even if you think that your loved one has become a different person and is no longer there it’s still them. You just have to figure out a different way to reach them and know what to say to an Alzheimer’s or dementia patient.
What to say:
- Accept the blame when something’s wrong
- Agree with them or distract them to a different subject or activity
- Allow plenty of time for comprehension
- Avoid insistence
- Be cheerful, patient, and reassuring
- Go with the flow
- Have patience
- Don’t argue
- Don’t confront
- Don’t question recent memory
- Don’t reason
- Don’t remind them they forget
- Don’t take it personally
Recognizing what you’re up against is critical. Memory problems keep getting worse over time, and your loved one isn’t going to get better – you have to accept that. You need flexibility and you need to make the conversation as friendly as possible.
There is no treatment for Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia at this time and the brain is very complex. Your loved one is going to have both bad and good days and you’re going to just have to be patient. Take steps by learning how to act around someone with Alzheimer’s or how to support someone with Alzheimer’s.
Entrust of DeSoto: A Resident-centric Memory Care Community in Dallas, Texas
Entrust of DeSoto is a memory care community that puts resident well-being at the center of everything we do. We know that each person is unique. That’s why we offer a wide range of services and lifestyle options to nourish the body and create community.
We understand the importance of home cooked meals and nutrition for seniors and this attitude is reflected in our dining experience. If you or a loved one live near Dallas, Texas and need assisted living, contact Entrust of DeSoto today to learn about our 24-hour care and find out how we can help.