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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.

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