As people age, they may develop conditions that cause memory loss, such as Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia. If your family member is struggling to remember names, events and routines, you may feel unsure about the best way to communicate with them. Memory loss is not an easy problem to deal with, but having patience and following a few techniques can improve your communication.
Be Patient and Understanding
It’s not unusual to feel frustrated when you have to keep repeating yourself to someone. However, when you’re speaking with an individual with memory loss, the need to repeat yourself will become commonplace. Before entering the conversation, it may be helpful to anticipate potential challenges. If you start to become frustrated during the conversation, you might consider excusing yourself for awhile. If you’re forced to step away, use the separation time to calm down and prepare yourself to try again.
Keep Communication Simple
Using simple words and telling stories with less detail, can be helpful for someone with significant memory loss due to Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia. If your loved one’s memory is worsening, you may need to ask questions that require one to two-word responses.
Talk About Old Times
Individuals who are struggling with their memory sometimes remember events from decades ago with almost perfect clarity. If your loved one wants to share these stories, you should encourage them. You may end up hearing a story you’ve been told a dozen times before, but the experience will help your loved one know you care.
Arguing over details and names with an individual suffering from memory loss is a pointless endeavor. Don’t force an argument just to prove who is right; conflict will just leave everyone upset and could make future communication difficult. If a particular topic is causing problems, gently change the subject to a more benign topic.
Distractions can affect both you and your loved one when trying to hold a conversation. To minimize this, put your smart phone away and limit the surrounding noise in the room; lowering your television volume. Be sure to seat yourself directly in front of your loved one, and say their name until you’re sure you have their attention.
Dealing with Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia, can be difficult. If a loved one is showing signs of memory loss, The Plaza Assisted Living can help. With expert staff in 5 beautiful and convenient locations, The Plaza Assisted Living’s Halia Memory Care Program, can help ease the challenges of dementia care.