When a loved one is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, it can be difficult to communicate, let alone deal with the trauma of feeling as though you’re losing someone right in front of your eyes. Not only is it painful, but it’s emotional. If you’re becoming a home health aide in Honolulu, it’s time to learn how to deal with the mental changes an Alzheimer’s patient may go through. Keep in mind, the emotional struggle you may feel is nothing compared to those of a family member and loved one.
From our tip book to yours, here are 10 key tips to have conversations with an individual with Alzheimer’s:
#1 Keep eye contact.
Eye contact matters in every conversation; however, it’s extremely vital to keep it during a conversation with an individual who has Alzheimer’s. The Alzheimer’s Foundation of America suggests to make sure you say their name and to keep eye contact to assure they have your full attention. Also, be sure you face them while you’re conversing.
#2 Reduce distractions.
Distractions are a key issue in conversations that don’t last long with individuals who have Alzheimer’s. Whether there’s a lot of background noise from a radio, television or even a fan, it can end up distracting someone who suffers from Alzheimer’s and take their mind away from your conversation. To limit distraction, find a quiet place for the two of your to talk in peace.
#3 Converse in a one-on-one setting.
Speaking to someone who has dementia or Alzheimer’s can be difficult in a group setting. It’s recommended to have conversations in a one-on-one setting to eliminate complicated discussions. Conversations which include two to there others can increase anxiousness and confusion for them.
#4 Keep it as simple as possible.
Comments and conversations should be kept as simple and short as possible when speaking to someone who is suffering from Alzheimer’s. According to the Mayo Clinic, a conversation that is simple and to the point is easier for an individuals with Alzheimer’s to understand and follow. This means staying clear of open-ended questions. An example of this would be asking, “Where would you like to go today?” To better direct the question, ask, “Would you like to go to the park today?”
#5 Avoid argumentative conversations.
Conversations that involve conflict should be avoided altogether. For someone who has Alzheimer’s, conflict can be frustrating, causing agitation. In order to best avoid this situation, avoid comments, such as: “You’re wrong,” or, “I just told you that.” Recognize that giving into this person will be better than causing an argumentative conversation for the both of you.
#6 Patience is a priority.
Patience needs to be a priority for anyone who is having a conversation with an individual who has dementia or Alzheimer’s. If you’re having trouble with patience, take a moment to put yourself in their shoes and what it’s like to not remember. Not only is it frustrating, it’s saddening as well. If you can see your loved one struggling with finishing their sentence, do what you can by asking them a question that jobs their memory, such as, “ Are you hungry? Would you like something to eat? “
#7 Enter into their world.
It can be extremely difficult to have a conversation with someone who has Alzheimer’s, so we suggest putting yourself in their world. Their world is much more different than yours. This approach is called “reality therapy.” Learn more about reality therapy online here. Just keep in mind, entering into their world is one of the best ways to get on their level.
#8 Consider body language cues.
One of the best visual cues to consider are body language cues. Body language is one of the most powerful languages for someone suffering from Alzheimer’s, and really, no matter who you’re talking to. There are physical indicators that may show how frustrated, happy or confused they are. Facial expressions are especially important to determine their disposition. Even if they can’t verbally communicate what they’re trying to convey, their body language can.
#9 Get creative with the way you communicate.
Communication doesn’t have to be boring. If words aren’t conveying what you’re trying to say, don’t be afraid to change up your communication style a bit. There are different types of communication, including verbal, auditory and visual to help your loved one understand. An example of a different approach to communication is if you’re making lunch, ask your loved one if they’d like turkey on their sandwich both verbally and pointing at the turkey at the same time.
#10 Keep talking.
Don’t ever stop talking to your loved one who has Alzheimer’s. Although their verbal communication skills may start to diminish, it’s extremely important to keep the communication alive. Don’t underestimate the power of conversation. By communicating with your loved one, you’re not only letting them know you’re their for them, but you’re letting them know you love them.
Apply for a job with us!
No matter if your family member is in the beginning or late stages of Alzheimer’s, it’s important to consider the social aspects and how important they are while communicating with them. If you’re looking for a home health aide job in Honolulu, Wilson Care wants you to apply! We’re searching for people with the skills we mentioned above. Contact us online today or give us a call at 808-518-3123 today!