Communication is difficult for people who have Alzheimer’s disease or other form of dementia. It’s also not easy for someone who doesn’t have Alzheimer’s to communicate with someone who does. Here are some tips that might help improve communication between people with dementia and their friends and family members and/or caregivers.
Communication Help for People with Alzheimer’s
If you’re in the early stages of Alzheimer’s, here are some things you can do to maintain some of your communication skills:
- Try Alzheimer’s apps. In recent years, several companies have developed apps to help people with Alzheimer’s. Lumosity and Mind Mate are two that are designed to help with memory and cognitive stimulation. Promenade is an iPad app that uses pictures to help stimulate conversation. If you don’t have an iPad, you can buy one at most Kansas City discount stores or on Amazon.
- Use e-mail. If it’s easier to express yourself in writing than it is to speak to people, send periodic e-mails to family and friends to stay in touch.
- Keep people updated about your condition. If you’re still capable of carrying on a two-way conversation, let people know. Otherwise, they may not realize you’re still able to communicate with them.
- Ask questions. Write down questions you can ask to get people to start talking about themselves. For example, How was your day? What did you do today? Do you have plans for the weekend? It doesn’t matter if you can’t remember their answers later.
- Get Outside Help. For help with mental stimulation and cognitive skills, contact a Kansas City home care agency that specializes in Alzheimer’s and dementia care.
Communication Help for Alzheimer’s Caregivers
If you’re providing Alzheimer’s home care, here are some things you can do to improve communication between you and the person who has dementia:
- Brush up on your Alzheimer’s communication skills. Even if you’re a good conversationalist, you may not realize that interacting with a person who has Alzheimer’s isn’t the same as interacting with someone who doesn’t have dementia. For example, people with Alzheimer’s have a difficult time answering questions, so you may need to do the bulk of the talking.
- Learn what not to say. There are certain things you shouldn’t say to people with Alzheimer’s. For example, it’s not a good idea to say things like, “Your husband is dead” or “You can’t go home. Becoming familiar with what not to say can help your conversation go more smoothly.
- Plan activities that might stimulate conversation. Activities that involve the person with Alzheimer’s (e.g., baking, craft activities) might bring back memories that could prompt him or her to reminisce.