The ability to communicate through spoken language may become difficult to understand or may be lost. The person then has to use other forms of communication to express a need. As the disease progresses the person may communicate their needs increasingly through their behaviour. It is important to look for meaning: What is he or she trying to say? Understanding what the person is trying to say with this behaviour may prevent some difficult behaviour from developing.
Make sure you can be seen and heard:
- If a person is using a hearing aid make sure the hearing aid is on.
- Stand in front of the person where they can see you.
- Place yourself at eye level when talking or listening
- Identify yourself
- Use the persons name
Make the communication simpler and easier to understand:
- Avoid talking across/over about the person with Alzheimers Disease
- Speak gently and clearly – avoid shouting
- Ask one question at a time
- Wait for a response before continuing
- Explain what you are going to do and what you are doing
- Use a statement rather than a question
- Keep instructions short and simple – give only one task at a time
- Use hand gestures · Smile to reinforce your words
- Show your concern with reassurance and acceptance
- Praise when it is appropriate
- Respond to the feelings expressed by the person
- Touching is very important and very reassuring to the Alzheimers patient.
Reference: Harvard Health Letter Special Report, Commonwealth Dept. of Health and Family Services (The Carer Experience)