Tag Archives: signs of Alzheimer’s

Helpful Communication Strategies for Dementia

Alzheimer’s and other dementia conditions progressively diminish mental capacity as they worsen, including a patient’s ability to communicate with and understand the people around them. Here are some insights from our assisted living community in Gloucester County, NJ on developing an effective way to communicate with your loved one.

Common communication problems for dementia patients: 

  • Struggling to find the right word
  • Describing an object rather than calling it by its name
  • Mixing up word order while speaking
  • Finding it difficult to complete a sentence or express a train of thought in full
  • Using gestures rather than words
  • Repeating familiar words too often

How to get the most out of your communication with your loved one: 

  • Create a distraction-free zone. To encourage your loved one to focus on you and what you are saying, pick a time and a quiet and calm place where no one is likely to interrupt. This allows them to focus their effort on you and the conversation.
  • Steady your tone. Communicating can be frustrating. While you may be stressed or worried, if you want to communicate effectively with your loved one, you have to leave that all at the door. Relax, use a warm, calm tone and speak naturally without condescension or baby talk.
  • Use names. Following a conversation takes a lot of energy and effort for many dementia patients.Using names rather than “he,” “she” or “they” helps your loved one stay on track and avoids confusion and unnecessary repetition.
  • Stick to one topic at a time. It’s natural for us to jump from topic to topic and go off on a tangent, but this can be difficult for your loved one to follow. Rather, stick to one thread of conversation and only move on after you are both fully finished on that topic.
  • Patience. The more progressive your loved one’s condition, the more patience you will need to have a productive conversation with them. Give them time to express what they are trying to say, actively listen to and consider their answer, and breathe deeply and let the moment pass if you start feeling frustrated.

Above all else, it’s important to remember that there will be good days and bad days with your loved one. Some days will bring good conversation while other days it will be better to simply sit quietly with your loved one and let them take comfort from your presence.

Alzheimer’s and dementia care and support at our assisted living community in Gloucester County, NJ 

Collingswood is part of the United Methodist Communities’ network of high-quality, non-profit assisted living communities specializing in residential and assisted living for seniors. In addition to our wide range of customized services for seniors, we also offer expert memory care and support services for patients with dementia conditions.

To find out more about United Methodist Communities or our assisted living services, please contact us at https://pitman.umcommunities.org and book your visit today.

Original content posted on https://umcommunities.org/blog/helpful-communication-strategies-dementia/

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What is Alzheimer’s Disease?

Dr. Aloysius (Alois) Alzheimer first described Alzheimer’s disease in 1901 as a type of chronic dementia which affects the areas of the brain that focus on behavior, language, memory and thinking. It is a progressive disease, meaning that the symptoms will slowly appear and worsen over time – often becoming too severe for the patient to manage simple daily tasks.

What Causes Alzheimer’s?

Alzheimer’s is not a normal part of the aging process, although most people with the disease are over the age of 65. The exact cause of this disease isn’t known, but risk factors that increase the likelihood of developing the disease include a genetic history of Alzheimer’s, head injuries, depression and hypertension.

How Does Alzheimer’s Affect the Brain?

The latest scientific research has shown that Alzheimer’s prevents brain cells from working as they should by disrupting their processes and causing them to break down. As cells break down, other systems dependent on the processes of those cells are also negatively affected – and so the damage spreads.

Two abnormal structures called plaques and tangles,cause these breakdowns although it is still unknown why they occur. Plaques are protein fragments, known as beta-amyloid, which build up between the brain’s nerve cells while tangles are protein fibers that clog up the inside of the cells. Highly concentrated in the areas of the brain used for memory, people with Alzheimer’s develop a lot more of these buildups than would otherwise naturally occur as we age.

As the disease progresses, patients experience more dramatic symptoms, which can include aggression, personality changes, confusion, difficulty eating and walking and poor sleeping patterns. Fortunately, there are a wide range of services for Alzheimer’s patients and their families such as support groups, memory support services and experienced, medically trained caregivers.

What are Memory Care and Support Services?

At United Methodist Homes of New Jersey, we offer a support service specifically for Alzheimer’s patients which provides an environment that delivers the highest quality of life. Each resident program, customized to their unique needs and level of independence, focuses on everyday routines such as cooking, gardening, socializing, setting the table, and more within a community lifestyle. These four memory care programs also include activities for general wellness like fitness, music and other sensory activities appropriatefor your loved one.

Our residences are designed to be comfortable and homey, encouraging independence while supplying essential support and onsite medical care. For more information on our memory support services for Alzheimer’s and dementia, please contact UMH today or visit www.umh-nj.org.

This content was originally posted at http://www.umh-nj.org/blog/what-is-alzheimers-disease/

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