Posts Tagged ‘communication’

10 Tips for Nonverbal Communication

Wednesday, March 4th, 2015
  1. Don’t Talk From Behind Them: Despite your best efforts you may sometimes forget this one, as described above.
  1. Make Eye Contact: This tip is related to the one above. If you’re standing behind the person you can’t make eye contact.
  1. Be at Their Level: If both you and they are standing that’s fine. But if they’re sitting on a chair it’s best if you kneel in front. This is especially important if they are in a wheelchair. Otherwise they will have to look up at you and they may feel you’re towering over them.
  1. Use Therapeutic Touch: People with Alzheimer’s may yearn to be touched, but you should ask for permission first and tell the person what you are going to do. Otherwise they may become alarmed.
  1. Don’t Make Sudden Movements: This, too, may scare the person.
  1. Offer to Shake Hands Every Time You Visit: They probably won’t remember you did it the last time. Put your hand out; they may reach for yours. If not let it go. This tip is related to therapeutic touch.
  1. Use Laughter. Alzheimer’s is a deadly serious disease. Nonetheless, sometimes laughter is the best medicine. Be sure to have some light-hearted stories to tell the person at each visit. I have found they may counter by telling you a funny story. Just be sure you’re laughing with the person, not at them.
  1. Use Visual Cues: Point, touch or hand them the item you want them to use. For example, if you want them to drink some water, point to it or put a full glass near them and/or then pick it up and hand it to them.
  1. Palms up: Never sit with your arms crossed. This tends to convey anger just as it does when interacting with a person who does not have dementia. If you have your palms up it will probably be interpreted by the person as “I’m receptive to you” or “Take my hand” or “I like you.”
  1. Smile a Lot: This is probably the most important guideline of all. You will want to do this at any time (except if the conversation is more serious), but particularly when you’re telling the person something pleasant or humorous and when the person is telling you something of a like nature.

What If Your Loved One Keeps Telling You the Same Stories Over and Over?

Thursday, December 19th, 2013

When I went to see one of the ladies with Alzheimer’s I volunteer to visit – we’ll call her Ruth –  she told me a long story about how during World War II, the army used to arrange for young ladies to visit a nearby base on Friday nights to dance with the soldiers. She was one of the girls.

It was an interesting story. But the thing is that she tells me the same story every time I see her.

This could be annoying. If I wanted her to be “normal” I might have told her she’d told that story the last time and that we should talk about something else.

But nothing will ever make this lady “normal” so I had to reframe the situation. I realized this event must have been very important in her life.

I further realized that she repeated the story because she didn’t remember she’d told me about it before. For her, each time she told me was like the first time she’d ever told me about it.

So I decided to respond each time as though it was the first time I’d heard it. I listened patiently, made responsive comments at the right times and asked questions (to which I knew the answers from previous times) to help her remember all the details.

I learned not to be annoyed by her incessant repetition, but rather to use it as a basis for our conversations. I began to actually look forward to the “dancing” story, which she so loved telling me.

The lesson here is that if we can step into the world of people with Alzheimer’s we can truly enjoy being with them. It takes so little to entertain them. If they are still able to converse with you, just ask them to tell you a favorite story from their past – even if you’ve already heard it a dozen times.

And finally, remember that it isn’t always the content of a conversation that matters. Sometimes it’s just how much you enjoy talking together whether the stories you’re told are new ones or old ones

 

Carole Larkin’s Tips for Communication

Saturday, April 20th, 2013

Tips for communication with a person who has Alzheimer’s:

  1. Make eye contact. Always approach them face-to-face and make eye contact. Use their name if you need to. Always approach from the front as approaching and speaking from the side or from behind can startle them.
  2. Be at their level. Bend your knees or sit down to reach their level. Do not stand or hover over them – it is intimidating and scary.
  3. Tell them what you are going to do before you do it. Particularly if you are going to touch them.
  4. Speak calmly. Always speak in a calm manner with an upbeat tone of voice, even if you don’t feel that way.
  5. Speak slowly. Speak at one half of your normal speed when talking to them. They cannot process words as fast as non-diseased people can.
  6. Speak in short sentences. Speak in short direct sentences with only one idea to a sentence.
  7. Only ask one question at a time. Let them answer it before you ask another question.
  8. Don’t say “remember”. Many times they will not be able to do so, and you are just pointing out to them their shortcomings.
  9. Turn negatives into positives. For example say “Let’s go here” instead of “Don’t go there”.
  10. Do not argue with them. It gets you nowhere. Instead, validate their feelings, by saying” I see that you are angry (sad, upset, etc…). It lets them know that they are not alone and then redirect them into another thought.

Note: This is a shortened version of an article published by Carole Larkin on the Alzheimer’s Reading Room (AlzheimersReadingRoom.com)Please see that article for more detail on each of the ten tips listed above.

Ten Tips for Successful Communication With People Who Have Alzheimer’s Disease

Wednesday, August 1st, 2012
  1. Make eye contact. Always approach them face-to-face and make eye contact. Use their name if you need to. Always approach from the front as approaching and speaking from the side or from behind can startle them.
  2. Be at their level. Bend your knees or sit down to reach their level. Do not stand or hover over them – it is intimidating and scary.
  3. Tell them what you are going to do before you do it. Particularly if you are going to touch them.
  4. Speak calmly. Always speak in a calm manner with an upbeat tone of voice, even if you don’t feel that way.
  5. Speak slowly. Speak at one half of your normal speed when talking to them. They cannot process words as fast as non-diseased people can.
  6. Speak in short sentences. Speak in short direct sentences with only one idea to a sentence.
  7. Only ask one question at a time. Let them answer it before you ask another question.
  8. Don’t say “remember”. Many times they will not be able to do so, and you are just pointing out to them their shortcomings.
  9. Turn negatives into positives. For example say “Let’s go here” instead of “Don’t go there”.
  10. Do not argue with them. It gets you nowhere. Instead, validate their feelings, by saying” I see that you are angry (sad, upset, etc…). It lets them know that they are not alone and then redirect them into another thought.

Note: This is a shortened version of an article published by Carole Larkin on the Alzheimer’s Reading Room. Please see that article for more detail on each of the ten tips listed above.

 

Ten Tips for Communicating with an Alzheimer’s Patient

Thursday, March 8th, 2012
  1. Make eye contact.
  1. Be at their level physically.
  2. Tell them what you are going to do before you do it.
  3. Speak calmly.
  4. Speak slowly.
  5. Speak in short sentences.
  6. Only ask one question at a time.
  7. Don’t say “remember”.
  8. Turn negatives into positives.
  9. Do not argue with them.

These tips are from Carole Larkin, a geriatric care manager in Dallas.  These tips are a shortened form of an article originally published on the Alzheimer’s Reading Room. (http://www.alzheimersreadingroom.com/2010/03/ten-tips-for-communicating-with.html#more). I will be presenting a more detailed version of this list in my April Newsletter.

What I Learned from My Alzheimer’s Caregiving Experience

Friday, February 24th, 2012

Today I’d like to reprint a comment I recently posted on the Alzheimer’s Reading Room in response to a question posed by the site’s founder and director, Bob DeMarco. The question was “How Has Alzheimer’s Impacted You?”  Here’s how I answered:

Unfortunately my Azlheimer’s caregiving days are over. But now I can sit back and reflect on the seven years I spent caring for Ed. I learned so much from that experience. I learned patience, I learned to deal with all of the difficult situations that typically arise when caring for a loved one with dementia. I learned new ways to communicate and connect. But mostly I learned a new way to love. And I learned that Ed loved me during that time more than ever during our 30-year relationship. I learned to let go, and I learned how to grieve when he passed away. Finally, I learned that life goes on. Our loved ones live on in our hearts forever as we pick ourselves up and return to the non-Alzheimer’s world.

That’s what I learned.