Communicating Effectively With Alzheimer's Patients
People who suffer from Alzheimer's experience severe memory loss, lessened communication skills, and may have a difficult time performing everyday, ordinary tasks. For those under the watchful eye of a care facility, trained professionals can help keep patients monitored and stimulated to help them continue to live a productive, fulfilling life. When it comes to communicating with Alzheimer's patients, there are some specific things case workers, nurses, and physicians should to in order to be effective.
For those who are coping with Alzheimer's, their mind may not be able to process speech like they once could. It's important to talk to people in a calm, even tone so as not to cause alarm or confusion. Allow the person to respond and be patient as they try to think of ways to answer questions or react. Even body language can have an impact. Don't stand with your arms crossed or it can indicate that you're angry, causing the patient to feel threatened or scared. Instead, stand with your arms by your side and keep a smile on your face so that the patient knows you're a friend and there to help.
Adults with Alzheimer's should be spoken to just like any other adult. Avoid using "baby talk" and always make eye contact, calling the person by name. Let the person make their own decisions and follow through with tasks such as putting their shoes on or making the bed. Encourage conversations to be engaging and interesting, and talk as well as listen. By understanding the needs of an Alzheimer's patient in a respectful manner, you'll help them to feel more content and feel that they've had a successful visit. It's important to understand that outbursts are common and that it's a result of the disease and not the individual. Take breaks if you feel that the patient is becoming angry or unruly.
In many cases, communication can break down even further as Alzheimer's progresses. If the patient is no longer able to talk to you like they once did, there are still some things you can do to keep them engaged. Encourage them to take a brief walk with you outside or head to the cafeteria for a small meal. Never let the patient wander on their own since they'll need constant supervision to keep them from wandering off. Come up with creative yet productive ways to create a distraction for the patient that will help them feel good and will get their minds off of the problem at hand. With careful communication skills, dealing with Alzheimer's patients can be a fulfilling experience for you as well as them.
For more information, contact a company like Valley View Retirement Community.