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Alzheimer’s Disease Can Cause These 7 Communication Challenges

October 24, 2023

They say communication is key in anything you do. But it’s especially important when caring for someone with Alzheimer’s disease.

“Good communication is an important part of living well after a diagnosis of dementia. It helps to the person keep a sense of self, sustain relationships and maintain their quality of life,” says Patty O’Brian, CDP, dementia specialist with Hartford HealthCare Center for Healthy Aging in Southington.

And one of the first steps in improving that communication is understanding the challenges that people with Alzheimer’s face.

Here are 7 communications challenges that you loved one might be dealing with.

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7 ways Alzheimer’s shuts down communication.

Alzheimer’s is a progressive disease. So over time, you and the person you care for will have to change how you communicate with each other, says O’Brian.

Eventually, your loved one might have trouble:

  1. Finding the right words.
  2. Struggling to name common objects.
  3. Fixating on ideas, words or phrases and repeating them.
  4. Losing train of thought.
  5. Combining native and taught languages.
  6. Relying on gestures.
  7. Inappropriately using words or jargon.

> Related: 2 Simple Lifestyle Changes to Ward Off Dementia

How caregivers can help reduce communication challenges from Alzheimer’s.

“If the person with dementia is not able to express themselves, they can lose confidence and feel anxious or depressed,” O’Brian says.

In order to facilitate communications, O’Brian suggests redirecting and addressing the situation.

Redirection allows you to guide the flow of the situation. Addressing the communication will leave less time for any wandering thoughts or words that may come frantically.

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Don’t be afraid to ask for help.

If you have questions or need more information about communicating with someone with dementia, a dementia specialist can help.