So many changes come with an Alzheimer’s diagnosis. One that might be more difficult for you and your aging adult to manage can be the communication problems that Alzheimer’s can bring. Here are just a few of the ways that your communication might change with your elderly family member.
Trouble Finding Words for Common Items
Once in a while you may even have trouble finding the right word for an object or concept. On its own, this doesn’t mean that you or your elder family member has a problem. But as Alzheimer’s disease progresses, this becomes a much more common circumstance. Your aging family member might even start to resort to describing objects when she can’t remember the names for them. Try labeling objects to help make this easier.
Losing Track of Her Thoughts
Your elderly family member may be speaking and suddenly not remember where she was going with what she was saying. This can be incredibly frustrating for her, so try not to rush her when she’s sharing information with you. Sometimes she can find her way back to what she was trying to tell you.
Cutting Back on Talking Completely
Communication can become so difficult for aging adults with Alzheimer’s disease that some may stop talking completely. This can be really tough for you to deal with as her caregiver, especially since you’re relying on input from her to meet her needs. She may start using gestures or flash cards if you offer those to her. The key is to find a way to communicate, even if she’s not comfortable talking anymore.
Reverting to a Native Tongue
Your elder family member might revert to an original language that she learned as a child. This happens because Alzheimer’s disease tends to decimate more recent memories first, leaving some of the oldest memories intact. If this is happening with your elderly family member, consider hiring elder care providers who can also speak the language your senior speaks to help facilitate care.
Even with communication difficulties, you can still let your elder family member know that you’re there for her and that you’ll always be there for her.