This is an excellent article for those that may have a loved one with signs of Dementia/Alzheimer. Recently, my team and I are seeing more families with a loved one with these early signs.
Early Detection Matters:
(1) Memory changes that disrupt daily life (early signs forgetting recently learned information).
(2) Challenges in planning or solving problems (Difficulty concentrating or taking longer to complete a task).
(3) Difficulty completing familiar tasks (Complete daily tasks: driving familiar area, managing their budget)
(4) Confusion with time or place: (Cannot remember appointment(s) or location).
(5) New problems with words in speaking or writing (May have trouble following a conversation or joining in a conversation). They may repeat themselves. Trouble finding the right words.
(6) Misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps (Placing things in unusual areas). Often accuse others of stealing and re-occurs more often.
(7) Decrease or poor judgement (Demonstrate unusual changes in judgement or decision-making).
(8) Withdraw from work or social activities (They remove themselves from family, hobbies or sports).
COMMUNICATING WITH AN ALZHEIMER/DEMENTIA PATIENT
HELPING THE PERSON COMMUNICATE: Helping someone communicate takes patience and understanding. Here are some Suggestions:
(1) Be calm and supportive. Maintain eye contact and use touch to reassure them. Show them you are listening.
(2) Show your interest in what he/she is saying or feeling.
(3) Pay attention to their voice/gestures for clues to what they are feeling. Sometimes, their emotions are more important than she they are trying to say.
(4) If you do not understand what they are trying to say, encourage them to point or gesture.
(5) If they cannot find a word, they may be less frustrated if you offer a guess.
(6) If they use the wrong word, and you know what they mean, supply the correct word. If this upsets them, do not correct future mistakes!
(7) Do not try to get them to explain as this may make them more upset. If possible just go along with what they are saying or agree with them – less agitated.
(8) Approach the person from the front but some may feel more comfortable if you talk from a handshake distance away.
(9) Keep confusion, distraction and noise to a minimum.
(10) Say your name first then address their name to get their attention.
(11) Speak slowly and distinctly. Use a lower voice pitch to convey sense of calm.
(12) Pay attention to your tone of voice. A person with Dementia/Alzheimer can sense your emotions. Limit the number of “don’t) and avoid harsh or direct orders.
(13) Confrontation may make the situation worse or get the person “worked up.”
Your observation and sensitivity will make a big difference. A hug or kiss can express affection. Remember: Treat the person with dignity and respect.
I suggest for any family or family member to go to www.alz.com. The Alzheimer Association provides so much information about the “Stages” of Alzheimer. They also list the Support Groups throughout Texas for family members to attend – FREE! The support from other families going through this disease with their loved ones can provide “insight” on how they have handled their “loved one” and also received support from outside Speakers.
We need to keep on Congress to provide more “funding” for research….there is NO CURE at this time. The information listed was provided by the Alzheimer Association whom I work very closely with for my updated training working with families who have a loved one with this terrible disease.
Brenda Dever-Armstrong, CEO/Owner/CSA/Geriatric Advisor
The Next Horizon Seniors & Military (Veterans/Spouses) Advocate/Resources/Services/Locator (TX & nationwide)
Bus Ph: 210-275-3002