Alzheimer's is a devastating brain disease and affects more people than you think. According to the Alzheimer's Association, about 5.3 million of Americans have Alzheimer's disease in 2015. If one of your loved ones is suffering from this disease, you may feel a loss as to what you can do. Although you can't cure Alzheimer's, you can be there for your loved one and learn how to communicate effectively with him. Here are five ways to communicate with an Alzheimer's patient.
An Alzheimer's patient already has a hard enough time concentrating, so it is very important to eliminate all distractions. If there is background noise from a television or radio, your loved one may not be able to hear or pay attention to what you are saying.
Ask Simple Questions
Since an Alzheimer's patient has trouble processing information, you should only ask simple questions. For example, asking, "What do you want to do today? Do you want to go to the park or visit a friend?" may confuse your loved one. Instead, just ask him if he would like to go to the park.
Do not Interrupt
When your loved one takes a long time to respond, it can be tempting to interrupt him. However, interrupting an Alzheimer's patient is disrespectful and can lead to frustration. Be patient and wait for your loved one to give you a response.
Look Your Loved One in the Eyes
If you want an Alzheimer's patient to focus all of his attention on you, it is essential to look him the eyes. If you look directly at your loved one, he will know that you are talking to him and will respond better.
If your loved one has Alzheimer's, chances are that he will say something that does not make much sense. However, you should avoid arguing and trying to correct him. Arguing with an Alzheimer's patient is pointless and will just frustrate both of you. It is a much better idea to just listen to your loved one's feelings and tell him how much you care about him.
Communicating with a person with Alzheimer's can be quite frustrating at times, but it is important to stay calm. Remember that your loved one can't help his disease and likely feels more distressed than you do. If you are patient and understanding, it will go a long way in helping your loved one. (For more information on nursing home care, contact Beth Sholom Home Of Virginia)