Did you know that November is Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month and National Caregiver Month? The Alzheimer’s Association uses this yearly campaign to raise awareness of this disease which affects over 5 million people each year. Today, we’ll provide some tips for caregivers to help increase communication with their loved one and maintain a high quality of life.
- Don’t Rush: Because Alzheimer’s disease affects cognition, it takes longer for someone with the disease to process speech. Speak at a relaxed, easy pace, and pause between each sentence. Look for signs of confusion to see if you may need to repeat yourself.
- Ask Simple Questions: In order to give your loved one the best chance of understanding and responding to questions, keep it simple. Ask yes/no questions when possible, or decrease the number of possible choices. For example, instead of asking, “What would you like for dinner?” you might want to ask, “Do you want chicken or a sandwich?”
- Watch Your Tone: Even in the later stages of the disease when a person may understand very little language, they will still typically pick up on the tone of your voice. If you’re frustrated or agitated, these feelings will often be communicated in your speech. Your loved one will likely understand something is wrong, and also become agitated as well. Make an effort to speak in a calm, soothing voice whenever possible.
- Get their Attention: Before speaking to your loved one, get their attention by positioning yourself at eye level and gently making contact, for example, by lightly touching their arm. If your loved one is fully focused and making eye contact with you before you begin to speak, they may have a better chance of understanding what it is you’re saying.
For more tips on communicating with your loved one with Alzheimer’s disease, take a look at this video by Speech Associates of NY President, Jayne Latz.
Do you know someone who struggle with Alzheimer’s Disease? What strategies do you use to communicate? Share your story in the comments section below!
For information on our New York based Speech-Language Pathology services, please call Speech Associates of New York today at (212) 308-7725 or visit our website at http://www.speechassociatesofny.com and find out how our team of professionally trained and certified speech-language pathologists can help!
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