How to Communicate with a Loved One with Alzheimer’s Disease

Communicating with a loved one with Alzheimer’s can be incredibly difficult. Not only is it difficult to hold a normal conversation with them, but also you are likely dealing with an assortment of emotions: aggravation, anger and sadness. The most important thing to remember when communicating with someone with Alzheimer’s is do not try to correct them. Try not to rationalize with them as they are not able to function rationally. If you do try to rationalize with them, you are likely to start an argument you are not going to win, thus causing both you and your loved one additional stress.

Alzheimer’s Communication Tips

  • Always remain calm when talking with mom or dad. Don’t be confrontational. Keep sentences short and concise. When talking with them, do so in a calm and loving way.
  • Ask yourself: How would I feel if I was developing Alzheimer’s disease?  Then use this insight to select the most helpful words and phrases to talk to your loved one.
  • Always remain supportive. Use humor whenever possible.  Laugh with them (not at them) when they forget something (“Another Senior moment!”).
  • Get yourself educated about how to effectively communicate with someone with Alzheimer’s disease. Have your mom or dad read about their own condition if they are still unable to understand.  The Alzheimer’s Association is a wonderful resource, both online and in person. There are many great self help books that you can read that are based on other people’s own experiences in dealing with Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Join Alzheimer’s communication support groups in your community.  These groups often provide guest speakers on the subject as well as giving you personal support. These groups help you to recognize that you and your family are not the only people in the world dealing with this issue.
  • Continue to show your love for mom and dad.  Stress that you understand their concerns, their fears, etc.
  • Finally, when it comes to Alzheimer’s disease communication, as the disease progresses, don’t take mom or dad’s comments personally.  Remember that it is most likely the Alzheimer’s talking when they confront you or accuse you of something. Enjoy the good days and accept the days that not so good.

Watch the video above as Ric Cavanagh, Director of Staff Development for EasyLiving, offers Alzheimer’s communication tips for you and your loved one.

For additional Alzheimer’s information, check out the videos below:

Alzheimer’s disease warning signs
Caring for a person with Alzheimer’s disease
The benefits of Alzheimer’s disease home care instead of an assisted living facility