The most effective way of talking to your loved one with Alzheimer’s disease is with direct, short sentences. Why is this so? When someone has dementia or Alzheimer’s – or some other memory related condition – their brain goes through changes. Their ability to respond and listen to normal conversation declines. It is more comfortable for them if you use direct, short sentences. This way, they’re more likely to respond appropriately because they can better understand what you’re saying. Simply put, they have to process less information.
Short Sentences – Why Do They Work?
The use of fewer words has proven to be an effective technique in communication with people diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, etc. The brain’s ability to retrieve and process information is affected by dementia and Alzheimer’s. Regarding what most people consider normal conversation, these individuals find it difficult to understand, listen, and appropriately respond. So, it’s recommended you use direct, short sentences with one thought per sentence.
There’s too much to process with a long sentence. They are too complex and tend to be overwhelming. It may feel strange at first, speaking in short sentences with as few words as possible. To fill the silence, most people are used to trying to employ friendly conversation. You can be friendly without being lengthy, however.
It will be just as kind, but less frustrating for someone with dementia, if you use a positive, warm tone but with fewer words. Let’s look at some examples of how to converse with a person with Alzheimer’s.
Rather than asking the person if they are hungry and then suggesting several possibilities … and then talking about going to the kitchen and what you will do later … try this:
“It’s time to eat chicken pot pie, mmm. Let’s go to the dining room.” (or something along those lines)
It’s time for a bathroom break. But rather than explain to the person when they last visited the bathroom, and how they’ve had a lot to drink, and how maybe it’s time to go again… and then ask if that’s okay… try this:
“It’s time to go to the restroom.” (or something similar)
When a visitor shows up, a person with Alzheimer’s may not remember who they are. Don’t waste time getting them excited about the visitor, asking questions as to who it is, reminding them when they saw them last, and then saying something like, “Remember them?”
Try this instead: “Look who’s come to say hello. (pause) It’s Mike, your brother.”
Check Out Our SHINE Memory Care Program
Though our retirement community offers several living plans (including assisted living and independent living), our SHINE Memory Care services are perfect for your loved one with Alzheimer’s disease.
For those with memory issues, our specialty programs and sessions are available and provide an enjoyable experience, as well as a stimulating setting and a caring environment – regardless of the resident’s capabilities. Our retirement community is perfect for any retirement age individual with or without dementia, Alzheimer’s, etc.
Do you have questions regarding sales and leasing? If so, you can phone us at 561.287.6743. For other questions, please phone 561.202-9866. You can also take advantage of our contact form.
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