Caregiver Crisis: Tips for Alzheimer's Caregivers
Some tips for communicating with people who have Alzheimer's disease:
- Introduce yourself. This puts the person - who might not immediately recognize you - at ease.
- Speak calmly, softly, and slowly. Be positive: Say "let's do" something, rather than "let's not"
- Use short, simple, direct sentences with descriptive language, such as "Come sit here with me
on this blue couch."
- Give suggestions if the person is unable to make a choice.
- Ask only one question at a time; wait for a response before continuing.
- Validate feelings rather than trying to erase them. Use empathy to acknowledge the person's
feelings and let them know it's OK to feel sad, angry, lonely, or frustrated because these
feelings happen to all of us.
- Treat the person as an adult, not a child.
- Remember, the person can sense your mood and attitude.
- Make eye contact.
- Touch or hug the person and allow him or her to touch you.
Be consistent in your oral and nonoral messages.
- Approach tasks more than once is the person won't cooperate the first time.
- Give compliments, which can be distractions from a bad moment.
- Honor past accomplishments in conversation, such as success in raising
children, contributions to the community, the value of work they've done and
- Focus on the person and put your own problems and concerns on hold.
- Argue with the person. You can never win.
- Confront the person. It only creates anxiety.
- Correct the person if he or she misidentifies you or drifts into the past.
- Speak of the person in the third person when in his or her presence.
Source: Los Angeles Times
For more information, call 860-887-3593
CT Alzheimer's Association East Region Program Coordinator, Norwich, CT
Or visit www.alz.org, also.
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