Make communication easier for a person with Alzheimer’s disease

Check out these 5 tips to make communication easier between you and a person with Alzheimer’s:

  • Make eye contact and call the person by name
  • Be aware of your tone, how loud your voice is, how you look at the person, and your body language
  • Encourage two-way conversation for as long as possible
  • Use other methods besides speaking, such as gentle touching
  • Try distracting the person if communication creates problems

Visit the ADEAR website to learn more about the changes in communication that may accompany Alzheimer’s disease.

Talking with Children about Alzheimer’s disease

When a family member has Alzheimer’s disease, it affects everyone in the family, including children and grandchildren.

Talking with children is important. How much and what kind of information you share depends on the child’s age and relationship to the person with Alzheimer’s.

Here are some tips to help kids understand what is happening:

• Answer their questions simply and honestly. For example, you might tell a young child, “Grandma has an illness that makes it hard for her to remember things.”
• Help them understand that their feelings of sadness and anger are normal.
• Comfort them. Tell them no one caused the disease.

Communication Strategies for Caregivers

As a caregiver, you might feel impatient when the person with Alzheimer’s struggles to find words or forgets what they want to say. Here are some ways to communicate more effectively with your loved one:

• Ask questions that require a yes or no answer. For example, you could say, “Are you tired?” instead of “How do you feel?”
• Limit the number of choices. Try, “Would you like a hamburger or chicken for dinner?” instead of “What would you like for dinner?”
• Use different words if he or she doesn’t understand the first time. For example, if you ask the person whether he or she is hungry and you don’t get a response, you could say, “Dinner is ready now. Let’s eat.”
• Try not to say, “Don’t you remember?” or “I told you.”
And remember—if you become frustrated, take time out for yourself. Go for a walk or practice deep breathing.