It can be a little intimidating to know exactly what to say and how to act when spending time with a loved one with Alzheimer’s. And, sadly, because of some of the inherent facets of the disease, many times family and friends feel so uncomfortable that they avoid visiting the person at all. Understanding more about the disease and what to anticipate, and planning ahead on how to manage challenging behaviors, can help.
The main difficulties family members and friends encounter in their loved one with Alzheimer’s disease fall into one of three categories: changes in behavior, changes in memory, and communication ability; and the level of difficulty will likely fluctuate based on the particular stage of the disease the senior is currently experiencing.
To help overcome these challenges and make the visit as enjoyable as possible, North River Home Care’s Norwell Alzheimer’s care professionals recommend the following strategy:
- Begin your visit with a smile, and be prepared to re-introduce yourself if needed.
- Use simple language and short sentences, and speak slowly.
- Avoid arguing with or correcting the senior.
- Bring along photos from a favorite past memory for reminiscing.
- Listen to some of the person’s favorite music together, and ask him or her to dance if you’d like!
- Taking a walk together if possible, or any other physical activity, can make the visit more enjoyable for both of you.
- Remain calm throughout your visit, even if the senior becomes agitated or displays inappropriate behavior.
- Maintain a sense of respect during your conversation, understanding the person will likely repeat questions and statements.
- Minimize distractions to allow the person your full attention.
- Above all, keep in mind who the person was pre-dementia, and remind the person what he or she has done that has inspired you or helped you become the person you are today.
For more tips on effective communications with those with Alzheimer’s disease, or for specialized hands-on care assistance, contact the Alzheimer’s care team at North River Home Care. Our skilled dementia caregivers are fully trained and experienced in a variety of tactics to ensure seniors with Alzheimer’s disease remain safe and are able to live life to the fullest, with the utmost respect and compassion at all times.