An elderly couple hugs while seated.

When a loved one is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, it often becomes more difficult to communicate with them. Every case is different, but typically, Alzheimer’s gradually makes it more challenging for people to process what is said in a conversation and effectively relay what they feel, desire, or need. This difficulty in communication can be one of the most frustrating aspects of Alzheimer’s for both the person suffering from the disease as well as their loved ones.

At the Law Offices of Janis A. Carney in Silicon Valley, we pride ourselves on helping people manage Alzheimer’s diagnoses and take care of the legal needs associated with Alzheimer’s. For that reason, today’s post will focus on how to effectively communicate with someone diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. Read on to learn more, and remember to contact our law office for your elder law needs in Silicon Valley.

Be Inclusive

The first step toward communicating effectively is including your loved one in conversations. Talk directly to them and give them a chance to express what they feel. Be respectful of their diagnosis, but don’t assume that it defines them and immediately keeps them from being engaged in conversations.

Practice Patience

Patience is an important aspect of any form of communication, but that importance is drastically increased when communicating with someone with Alzheimer’s. In some cases, it can take up to two minutes for someone with Alzheimer’s to fully process and comprehend the things that are said to them.

Although it may take awhile to process aspects of a conversation, people with Alzheimer’s can still contribute to conversations. Practice being patient when conversing with people who have Alzheimer’s. Try to give them time to respond to the things that have been said and maintain eye contact when you are listening to them. By being patient and giving them time to speak, you show your loved ones with Alzheimer’s that you care for them and respect what they have to say.

Try to Be Thoughtful

It is difficult to imagine what having Alzheimer’s disease must be like. That said, trying to imagine what your loved one is going through can help you better understand the best ways to communicate with them. Try to think of how you would wish to be treated if you were in their place, and consider how you can converse with them in a way that is suited to their needs.

By being thoughtful in this manner, you will improve your ability to communicate with someone who has Alzheimer’s. Consider asking simple questions, using gestures, and trying to divide your communication into more manageable chunks for your loved one. By being thoughtful and making it easier for them to process and contribute to the conversation, you improve communication all around.

Utilize Alzheimer’s Resources

Finally, be willing to turn to Alzheimer’s resources at any point you feel discouraged, frustrated, or at a loss during communication. Alzheimer’s disease is hard on both the people that suffer from it as well as their loved ones. Seek relief by learning more about Alzheimer’s and how to handle difficult situations effectively.

Excellent resources on Alzheimer’s communication can be found on the Alzheimer’s Association® website. Resources about Alzheimer’s and how it applies to elder law in Silicon Valley can be found on our website, and feel free to contact the Law Offices of Janis A. Carney if you have any questions.