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Four Steps to Communicating with Someone Who Has Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimer’s is one of the most frustrating chronic health conditions. The person you know and love is there but not there at the same time. Moods change, memories and recognition disappear, and behavior can be almost toddler-like at times. If your mom or dad has Alzheimer’s disease. Remember these four steps for communication.

#1 – Don’t Be Forceful

Elder Care Media, PA: Four Steps to Communicating With Someone Who Has Alzheimer’s Disease

Do not force your parent to do something. It’s going to lead to resistance. The harder you try to push, the more your mom or dad pushes back. Soon, you’re both frustrated. That frustration has her agitated and physically or verbally aggressive. You’re not sure what to do next.

Instead, learn to distract and change direction. If your mom needs to take her blood pressure medication, but she’s resisting, don’t force her. Reinforce why it’s so important in a calm manner. If she still won’t, move on to something else and come back to it when she’s calmed down.

#2 – Never Say “You Already Said That”

Telling someone with Alzheimer’s that they’ve already asked you that or told you that is going to cause hurt. While you remember it, they don’t and that’s terrifying. It reinforces that their memory is disappearing.

Instead, smile and nod. If you have to answer the question again and again, do so. It’s better to repeat yourself dozens of times than remind your parent how bad it’s getting.

#3 – Do Not Argue

Don’t argue with your parent. It’s better to change the subject or walk away and put on something distracting like music or TV. If you argue, your parent won’t likely remember why the argument started. There may be a sense that something happened and is wrong, but the argument itself will be lost from your mom or dad’s memory in a matter of minutes.

#4 – Be Encouraging

While your mom or dad is forgetting things, celebrate and encourage the things that are remembered and enjoyed. Talk about those passions often to keep the encouragement going.

If your mom takes an interest in painting and does well, encourage her to keep going by stocking up on painting supplies. If your dad’s gardening skills lead to an abundance of produce, keep it going by getting him supplies to grow things inside during the winter.

Don’t expect every day to go perfectly. Even if you try these steps, there will be plenty of bad days. Take the breaks you need to avoid burning out. Elder care services encompass a range of tasks. Respite care is one of the first you should consider.

Instead of providing care 24/7, you have a professional caregiver step in so that you can check out. Go for a drive, run errands, or lock yourself away for a nap. Talk to an elder care agency about this and other services that help provide the care your parent needs when Alzheimer’s is present.


If you or an aging loved one are considering Elder Care in Media, PA please contact the caring staff at True Direct Home Health Care today.

Perry C. Doc Alleva, Owner & Administrator

Owner & Administrator at True Direct Home Health Care
True Direct HHC owner and administrator, Perry C. Doc Alleva has been in the health care community for over 10 years as a therapy solutions provider, as well as a home care services coordinator. He has extensive experience in caring for the disabled and the surgical acute, sub-acute, and rehab population. Rooted in his home-town city of Philadelphia, with strong ties to it's vast neighborhoods and communities, he's now focusing all his energies towards innovating the home health care agency's role in providing the essential care needed from individual to the family throughout the community.

Doc, as he is called by everyone - staff, patients and clients - first experienced home health care and hospice care while as a colleg student at King's College as he cared for his mother every day while she first battled COPD and then lung cancer. It was during this time that he came to understand that caring for a patient was more than just clinical expertise.

"Admittedly, my strongest attribute is my communication skills and the simple fact that I love to help people. Even the smallest thing you can do for someone really can mean so much to them long term. In fact, it could change them forever. That's what providing quality personal home health care should be all about."

In his spare time, he cooks for homeless shelters and children's music and arts events. He also is highly involved in his local youth sports soccer academy as a coach and Board member.

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