March 14, 2018
It may be just a little intimidating to understand exactly what to talk about and how to act when visiting someone with Alzheimer’s disease. And, sadly, due to some of the inherent elements of the condition, often friends and family feel so uncomfortable they avoid going to see the person anymore. Understanding more about the disease and what things to anticipate, and thinking ahead about how to manage challenging behaviors, can help.
The leading difficulties family caregivers and friends encounter with their loved one with Alzheimer’s disease fall into one of three categories: changes in behavior, changes in memory, and changes in ability to communicate; and the amount of difficulty will probably fluctuate depending on the particular stage of the disease the senior is actually experiencing.
As a way to help overcome these challenges and make the visit as enjoyable as you possibly can, Continuum, St. Louis’ Alzheimer’s care professionals, recommends the following approach:
- Start your visit with a smile, and get ready to re-introduce yourself if required.
- Use very simple language, short sentences, and talk slowly.
- Steer clear of arguing with or correcting the senior.
- Bring photos from a favorite past memory for reminiscing.
- Listen to some of the person’s favorite music together, and ask her or him to dance if you’d like!
- Going for a walk together when possible, or just about any other physical exercise, may make the visit more fun for both of you.
- Continue to be calm throughout your visit, even if the senior gets agitated or exhibits inappropriate behavior.
- Keep a sense of respect during your conversation, knowing the person probably will repeat questions and statements.
- Minimize distractions to give the individual your full attention.
- First and foremost, bear in mind who the senior was pre-dementia, and remind the person what he or she has done that has inspired you or helped you grow into the individual that you are today.
For more recommendations on effective communications with individuals with Alzheimer’s disease, and for specialized hands-on care assistance, contact the Alzheimer’s care team at Continuum. Our knowledgeable St. Louis dementia caregivers are fully trained and experienced in many different tactics to make sure seniors with Alzheimer’s disease remain secure and safe and are in a position to live life to the fullest, with the utmost respect and compassion all the time.