3 Tips For Increasing Communication With A Loved One With Alzheimer's Disease

If you have a loved one who has previously been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease, like millions of other Americans, it is only a matter of time before you start seeing the signs of the disease. One thing that you will begin to notice is the increased difficulty in communicating with them. This is because the dementia and memory loss cause your loved one to lose focus and be unable to find the words they're trying to say. Therefore, to maintain a strong connection with your loved one, you will need to be patient and plan ahead. Here are some tips for communicating more effectively with your loved one with Alzheimer's:

1. Minimize Distractions When Talking.

Your loved one is going to be far more sensitive to sounds around them than ever before, which means that the tiniest of things can distract them from the conversation you are having with them. Whether it is a loud garbage truck driving down the road or a television in another room, simple and regular noises can take your loved one's attention away from you and the conversation. Do your best to talk in an environment with limited noises and distractions.

2. Help Them Maintain Their Focus.

When you notice that your loved one is being distracted from the conversation, try to get them back on track. For starters, maintain eye contact with your loved one at all times. When they look away from you, touch their hand and say their name or ask them to look back at you. Sometimes, as you continue speaking, a touch on the hand or arm is enough to get them to turn their attention back to you and the conversation the two of you are having.

You could also acknowledge what diverted their attention and incorporate it into the conversation. For example, if an ambulance drove by with its lights on, you could ask your loved one if they would like to take a walk to see if you both could see where the ambulance was going.

3. Stay Positive and Patient.

The most important thing for you to do when dealing with a loved one with Alzheimer's is to stay positive and remain patient at all times. You may find yourself becoming agitated when your loved one doesn't respond the way that you want them to. However, try not to let things get to you, as it isn't their fault and their actions aren't intentional.

Remember, this isn't just hard on you. They don't truly understand what is going on either, which is why it is up to you to keep an upbeat attitude for the both of you. After all, if you're frustrated, you're just going to be increasing the likelihood of your loved one becoming irritated as well, which is going to lead to a poor conversation. 

When things get too difficult for you as a caregiver to your aging loved one, you may want to consider an assisted living facility where your loved one can receive specific medical care for their disease.