Conversations can draw us together as human beings. We may remember times when we sat at the dinner table surrounded by family and shared stories and plans for the future, or we can recall sharing our deepest thoughts with a best friend. Sadly, this ability to freely communicate with a loved one becomes compromised when Alzheimer’s disease strikes, which could take away an important part of your relationship.
Aside from the loss of the “back and forth” conversation you used to have, the very act of communicating with someone whose memory and cognitive functioning are compromised can be intimidating. We certainly don’t want to say something to cause additional confusion, concern, pain or embarrassment, and we may feel so self-conscious about making a mistake that we avoid those with Alzheimer’s or dementia altogether.
However, companionship is just as important – perhaps more so – for those struggling to understand the world around them. Rather than avoidance, sit beside the person, relax, and keep these five simple tips in mind:
- Accept errors. Confusion about names, dates, places, and memories is part of the Alzheimer’s and dementia terrain. Correcting the person can either cause embarrassment or added confusion.
- Avoid arguments. Changing the subject to a more pleasant topic when a disagreement begins to ensue is an effective way to diffuse a potential argument.
- Forego questioning. Asking a person who has memory issues questions about something that happened in the past, even if it’s as simple as, “What did you have for breakfast?” is an invitation for frustration.
- Allow misconceptions. Particularly when it comes to the death of a loved one, allowing the person to believe that the loved one is still alive is a kindness that protects him or her from the fresh, raw grief of once again facing that loss.
- Keep upbeat. Stick to topics that you know the person enjoys discussing, and steer clear of those that may upset him or her.
Providing care for a loved one with Alzheimer’s can be demanding as needs change and adaptations must be made. If you are looking for assistance from trained New Hampshire Alzheimer’s care experts, call us – Live Free Home Health Care – at (603) 217-0149 or contact us online. We understand how to provide care to vulnerable seniors, while preserving their dignity.