During the later stages of certain dementia-related conditions like Alzheimer’s disease, it often becomes difficult for individuals to express themselves. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean an aging loved one with dementia isn’t able to understand you in some way. Today, we’re going to take a closer look at how conditions that affect cognitive abilities can impact communication and offer some tips for enhancing communication and comprehension.
How Dementia Affects Communication
First, let’s start by looking at how dementia might affect communication. This usually occurs during the more advanced stages of certain forms of dementia. During this time, you may notice your parent having the following issues with communication:
• Using disorganized speech
• Switching words/phrases around
• Reverting to a native tongue if English is his or her second language
• Repeating what was just said
If your senior loved one has been diagnosed with a serious condition and needs help with tasks like meal prep, transportation, bathing, and grooming, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of at-home care families can trust. We also offer comprehensive care for seniors with dementia, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s.
How Dementia Affects Comprehension
During the early stages of dementia, the abilities to communicate and comprehend are often largely unaffected. There may be some confusion—especially if more than one person is talking—or instances of repeating things that were already said. Even so, your parent will likely be able to understand what you’re saying if he or she is still in the early or middle stages of the condition.
Your parent may eventually reach a point where he or she has increasingly noticeable difficulty following conversations. He or she may also become easily agitated and confused. With Alzheimer’s, the most common form of dementia, what’s broadly described as “conscious thought” may disappear.
However, just because comprehension is affected doesn’t mean your loved one isn’t capable of experiencing feelings. Alzheimer’s Society notes that seniors in the later stages of this type of dementia may still respond to emotions they associate with feelings they experienced in the past.
Caring for a senior loved one can be challenging for families who don’t have expertise or professional training in home care, but this challenge doesn’t have to be faced alone. Family caregivers can turn to Sacramento Home Care Assistance for the help they need. We provide high-quality live-in and respite care as well as comprehensive Alzheimer’s, dementia, stroke, and Parkinson’s care.
How to Enhance Communication & Comprehension
Having meaningful interactions with a parent who has dementia may eventually become complicated, but it’s rarely an impossible task. One exception may be during the final stage of Alzheimer’s, although it can still be possible to show affection with touch and other nonverbal methods of communication. Otherwise, you should be able to increase your parent’s ability to understand what you’re saying by keeping the following tips in mind:
• Limit conversations to one topic at a time to increase the odds that what you’re saying will be understood.
• Pay attention to body language and facial expressions to determine if what you’re trying to convey is being understood.
• Pause briefly after you say something to give your parent a chance to process what you’re saying.
• Let your loved one know it’s okay if he or she is unable to clearly respond to what you’re saying so he or she doesn’t become frustrated.
• Even if you aren’t fully sure if your parent understands you, don’t talk as if he or she isn’t in the room. It’s important to continue to treat your parent with respect.
If you’re looking for reliable dementia care, Sacramento Home Care Assistance offers high-quality at-home care for seniors who are managing the challenges of cognitive decline. We offer a revolutionary program called the Cognitive Therapeutics Method (CTM), which uses mentally stimulating activities to boost cognitive health in the elderly. CTM has proven to help seniors with dementia regain a sense of pride and accomplishment and learn how to engage with others in an enjoyable way. If your loved one needs professional care, Home Care Assistance is here to help. Call one of our dedicated Care Managers today at 916.706.0169 to learn about the high quality of our in-home dementia care services.