Having a conversation with a loved one that has Alzheimer’s can be difficult. In a normal conversation there is a certain ebb and flow that doesn’t happen when you’re talking to someone with dementia because they are experiencing a reality that is different from yours. It’s important to remember that someone with Alzheimer’s processes information differently than you and adjust your conversation accordingly. Some good tips for talking with someone who has Alzheimer’s are:
Let Them Lead The Conversation
Your senior loved one with Alzheimer’s is experiencing the world differently than you are. Let them invite you into their world instead of trying to bring them into yours. If you try to steer the conversation you may end up making them feel anxious or afraid when they can’t keep up with what is going on. Talk about whatever they want to talk about and let them steer the conversation. If your senior loved one has an elder care provider you can watch how they interact with their elder care provider to see how to do this.
Get Comfortable With Repetition
Your loved one with Alzheimer’s is going to repeat themselves frequently, especially as the disease progresses. Get used to it. You need to be comfortable hearing the same story or the same sentences over and over. Don’t get impatient or annoyed because your senior loved one will pick up on that. If your senior loved one wants to show you something several times or have the same conversation over and over go with it. Ask yourself why they are stuck on one subject and try to redirect them instead of getting annoyed.
Watch Your Tone
Seniors with Alzheimer’s are very aware of other people’s social cues like tone and body language because those are the cues they use to try and understand what is going on when they are confused or uncertain. Always keep your tone light, cheery, and unflustered when you are talking to your senior loved one. If your tone is annoyed or irritated they will feel like they have done something wrong but won’t know what and they could feel anxious or upset.
Keep Your Body Language Open
Keeping your body language open and friendly will also reassure your senior loved one that they haven’t done anything wrong. If your body language is relaxed and open your senior loved one will relax too. That will make conversation easier because your senior loved one won’t be trying to figure out how they are supposed to act or what they are supposed to say.
Stick To Topics That Are Happening Right Now
A common source of frustration when talking to someone with Alzheimer’s is that they don’t have any orientation in time. You can mention that you visited your loved one last week and they won’t know when last week was. All they know is what is happening now. So stick to talking about things happening now. You can talk about the weather or the nice sweater that your loved one has on or about objects or people in the room with you.
If you or an aging loved-one is considering Elder Care in Oakland, FL please contact the caring staff at Winter Garden Senior Home Care today. (407) 347-2050
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