I have a very special place in my heart for persons suffering with Alzheimer's related disorders. You see, in 1997 I left California, moving to South Florida to care for a parent with this condition. Not only was it a labor of love but I was introduced to a whole new world, encountering much of what today's family members go through. It lead to my profession as an Elder Care Manager, learning much of which I will share with you today.
If you are experiencing problems being heard, make sure that you have the person’s attention by saying their name and making eye contact. Remember cognition level may vary from day to day, time of day, location and conversational topic. Limit the number of people in a conversation when you are communicating. Use short, simple words and sentences with minimal information. This really makes life easier all the way around. Reduce distractions and extraneous noise when trying to communicate. Use more than words to communicate. Body language, gestures, and facial expressions also communicate meaning so learn to use appropriate ones. Encourage the person to express thoughts even if having difficulty. Be careful not to interrupt. Demonstrate tasks in easy to understand steps, one at a time. Use recognition rather than recall questions when introducing someone. Try saying, “This is Mary who we met last summer”, instead of saying “Don’t you remember Mary from last summer?” Expect that the person may ask the same question over and over again. Repetition is very common in this disease. Try to have patience, be reassuring, and move on. While on the subject of patience, ask one question at a time. If asking a question, then wait for a response. Sometimes there may not be a response, so gently move on. Above all, and this is very critical and may take some practice, but you must avoid criticizing, correcting, and arguing. It is always counterproductive. Remember, you can no longer teach them something like you can do with a two-year-old, it is up to you to. Here's more which was learned as an Activities Director in a Nursing Home:
Above all, patience is essential. The person with a dementia disorder may have little or no control over their strange verbal, physical, or sexual behavior. The affected person may not remember enough about their past reasoning or behavior patterns to always respond appropriately. What can seem like manipulative behavior is just the disease talking. If you are a long distance family member and need someone to partner with you in achieving goals for someone dear to you, call the offices of A Good Daughter Solutions in Boynton Beach at 561-235-2490. I will be happy to discuss how we can be of help and are available for a free consultation in your loved one's home.
Please feel free to comment or ask questions below. Thank you.
Posted 29th of January, 2016 by Olga Brunner
Labels: communicating with Alzheimer's disease patient geriatric care management
I Have worn many hats in my day: Nursing Home Assistant Admin and Activities Director, Assisted Living Admin, Case Management for the State-wide Medicaid Program, and Trainer for Dept of Elder Affairs.