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/
Dementia is a term that covers a category of diseases and conditions that primarily cause memory loss through physical changes to the brain. Here’s a guide to the different conditions in this category:
- Alzheimer’s disease: The most common type of dementia, Alzheimer’s accounts for between 60 and 80% of dementia conditions. It has been known to cause short-term memory loss, confusion, apathy, behavior changes, depression, decreased communication skills and decreased judgment. This is the result of beta-amyloid protein deposits (known as plaques) or twisted tau proteins (tangles) in the brain cells that lead to nerve cell damage and cell death.
- Parkinson’s disease: A progressive disease that affects movement, it can lead to dementia symptoms similar to those of Alzheimer’s. Parkinson’s disease is caused by the development of clumps of alpha-synuclein protein deep within the brain that lead to nerve degeneration.
- Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome: Caused by a deficiency of vitamin B1, this disease often affects alcoholics. This vitamin plays an important role in brain function and nerve cells cannot function properly without it, leading to severe memory loss.
- Huntington’s disease: This is caused by a defective gene on Chromosome 4, which results in abnormal brain proteins. Over time, this disease worsens, leading to involuntary movements, a decline in thinking and reasoning abilities, irritability and mood changes.
- Normal pressure hydrocephalus: Caused by a buildup of fluid in the brain, patients experience memory loss, as well as difficulty with urinary control and walking.
- Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease: Known as ‘mad cow disease,’ this fatal brain disease can be transmitted to people in certain circumstances, impairing memory and coordination.
- Frontotemporal dementia: Little is known about this category of diseases, which includes primary progressive aphasia and Pick’s disease, as there is currently a lack of research-based evidence to link each case. These conditions affect the front and sides of the brain and include symptoms such as personality changes, difficulty with language and behavioral changes.
Memory care and support services from assisted living specialists
At United Methodist Homes of New Jersey, we understand that caring for a loved one who has Alzheimer’s or dementia can be stressful and emotionally draining, and as the disease progresses it may become impossible for you to manage without qualified support.
This is why we offer specialist memory support and care services specifically geared toward assisting Alzheimer’s and other dementia residents. By focusing on providing onsite customized care plans and activities within our comfortable apartment-style community, we help ensure your loved one maintains his or her dignity and quality of life.
To find out more about our services for Alzheimer’s patients, please contact the nearest UMH today:
UMH Bristol Glen in Sussex County, NJ: (973) 300-5788
UMH Collingswood Manor in Camden County, NJ: (856) 854-4331
UMH Francis Asbury Manor in Monmouth County, NJ: (732) 774-1316
UMH Pitman Manor in Gloucester County, NJ: (856) 589-7800
UMH The Shores in Cape May County, NJ: 609-399-8505
For more information, visit www.umh-nj.org.
This content was originally posted at http://www.umh-nj.org/blog/understanding-different-types-of-dementia/