If your mother, father, grandparent, or other loved one has slipped into the mental deterioration caused by Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia, the changes can be painful to watch. Use these tips to support healthy and constructive communication with your loved one with dementia.
Know What to Expect
Alzheimer’s is a distressing disease when you don’t know what changes to expect. Help yourself by learning more about the different stages of dementia.
Your loved one will most likely struggle to find the right words, so he will use familiar, easy words repeatedly. He will also frequently lose his train of thought, struggle to organize words logically, and rely on gestures more than speaking. If you are prepared for these changes, you can focus on adjusting your communication methods appropriately rather than reeling in surprise and sadness.
Take It Slow With Topics
Your loved one with dementia needs to concentrate carefully on every sentences spoken and heard, so try to select one single topic and stay on that topic as long as possible. Any person with dementia cannot engage in the mental juggling act required in changing topics. It’s also helpful topic changes clear and purposeful.
Focus on the Positive
It’s true that dementia changes the abilities of your loved one to communicate, but focusing on those limitations will not help the situation. Instead, do your best to emphasize the abilities your love one still maintains.
Make the most of art, music, and gestures to enhance communication with your loved one with dementia. Maintain eye contact, smile, and use other nonverbal cues to put your loved one at ease and facilitate understanding.
It’s also important to consider the elements of your loved one’s estate plan and will when dementia develops. Call 941.567.1671 to schedule an appointment with elder law and estate planning attorney Kimberly Muenter in Tampa, Florida. Attorney Muenter can provide the guidance and advice your family needs to make sure the future is planned properly.