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5 Tips for Communicating with Someone with Alzheimer's

Alzheimer's symptomsProviding in-home care for seniors requires an individual with patience and compassion. However, working with clients suffering the effects of dementia or Alzheimer’s requires an increased level of patience and awareness to help effectively communicate. Here are 5 tips to facilitate communication during Alzheimer’s care by using different communication techniques and the aid of a home care software or home care system, such as ClearCare.

1. Speak slowly & clearly:
Although it may sound obvious, speaking slowly and clearly, in a calm tone will help people with Alzheimer’s process what is being said.

2. Go with the flow:
Sometimes referred to as “reality therapy,” caregivers can try communicating with the client in their frame of reference. Many times Alzheimer’s patients will recall memories of times long past, but refer to them as if these memories are taking place in present time. Making these notes about your client in your agency’s home care software or home care system may be helpful in reminding caregivers.

3. Don’t argue:
Although what someone with Alzheimer’s is saying may not be reality, arguing will only cause frustration and spur anger. Instead of correcting the person, ask questions during the course of Alzheimer’s care and try to relate your requests to their perceptions. If a lack of willingness to complete a task is present, encourage caregivers to make a note of the resistance in your agency’s home care system to report to family members.

4. Use visual cues:
Visual cues, like reminder notes or objects related to a task may help people with Alzheimer’s symptoms better understand. For instance, go to the bathroom and show the client their toothbrush and toothpaste when it’s time to take care of personal hygiene. Notes of what may help spur a client’s memory can be made within a home care software or home care system, like that offered by ClearCare, to ensure continuity between caregivers and maintain a sense of routine during the course of Alzheimer’s care.

5. Deal with mood changes :
Anger and frustration are a common part of Alzheimer’s symptoms. If these emotions become a part of your communications, evaluate how you can re-direct the person’s mood. Some research suggests that outbursts of anger in the course of Alzheimer’s care may be due to overstimulation. Try a different tone of voice, reduce the television volume or sit next to the client at eye level.

Communication with your clients suffering from Alzheimer’s disease is a major part of your caregiver’s job. Oftentimes, family members and other healthcare providers will be interested to know how daily care went, and track any changes in Alzheimer’s symptoms. Utilizing home care software, like that offered by ClearCare, will allow your caregivers to make notes about client mood and easily note why a task may not have been completed, enabling your agency to provide a high level of Alzheimer’s care.

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Derek Jones

Derek enjoys spending time with family running road races, has completed 6-half marathons, mountain biking, and anything to do with baseball or the outdoors.

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