Trouble communicating can be a sign that Alzheimer’s disease is progressing. In the early stages, a communication problem may be less obvious, but symptoms worsen over time. For an Alzheimer’s caregiver, speaking to them can be difficult; there are steps that you can take to more easily communicate with your patient and to help them more clearly and easily communicate with you.
Tips to Help Communicate to People With Alzheimer’s
- Be Patient. This can sometimes be the hardest but most important step. Support your patient as they try to communicate with you. Telling your patient that you’re there and want to goes a long way. Encourage them to take their time.
- Avoid Arguing or Correcting. If they tell you something and it doesn’t quite make sense, don’t correct them or argue. Try to determine what they mean based on what they’ve told you. You could repeat the information back to clarify.
- For Times When They Can’t Find the Words, Guess. If your patient can’t find the right words, try to help them by guessing. If you understand without the exact right word, you don’t need to help them. You could ask them to point or gesture as well.
- Focus on Feelings, Not Words. If you’re having trouble trying to figure out what your patient is trying to say, try to examine the feelings behind what they’re trying to tell you.