As Alzheimer’s progresses, communication can become more and more challenging. Sensitive, ongoing communication is important, no matter how difficult it may become or how confused the person may appear.
While the person may not always respond, he or she still requires and benefits from continued communication.
To improve communication:
- Turn questions into answers
- Try providing the solution rather than the question. For example, say “the bathroom is right here,” instead of asking, “Do you need to use the bathroom?”
- Avoid vague words Instead of saying, “Here it is!”- try saying, “Here is your hat.”
- Emphasize key words Stress the words in a sentence you most want to draw attention to, like “Here is your coffee.”
- Turn negatives into positives Instead of saying, “Don’t go there,” try saying,”Let’s go here.”
- Give visual cues To help demonstrate the task, point or touch the item you want the person to use. Or, begin the task for the person.
- Avoid quizzing
- Sometimes reminiscing may be healthy. But try to avoid asking, “Do you remember when…?”
- Stay away from saying things like, “You should know who that is.”
- Give simple explanations
- Avoid using logic and reason at great length.
- Give a complete response in a clear and concise way.
- Write things down Try using simple written notes for reminders, if the person is able to understand them. A written response may also help when a spoken one seems too confusing.
- Treat the person with dignity and respect
- Avoid talking down to the person or talking as if he or she isn’t there.
- Be aware of your tone of voice Speak slowly and distinctly
- Use a gentle and relaxed tone of voice- a lower pitch is more calming
- Convey an easygoing, non-demanding manner of speaking
- Be aware of your feelings and attitude- they are often communicated through your tone of voice, even when you don’t mean to
- Pay special attention to your body language
- Always approach the person from the front
- Avoid sudden movements Keep good eye contact; if the person is seated or reclining, get down to that level
- Be aware of your stance to avoid sending a bad message
- Use positive, friendly facial expressions
- Use unspoken communication like pointing, gesturing or touching