Life As A Caregiver – New Ways to Communicate

Communication tactics to help you connect with your loved one.

Judith, Caregiver for Mother, 4 Years, Texas:
That mind goes into a locked closet and they can’t get out.  They can’t see the way out to the door, not the keyhole, whatever you want to call it.  It’s darkness for them.

Claudia, Caregiver for Mother, 12 Years, Texas:
She didn’t even like me to ask her questions any more.  Things in the past — fine.  She can remember things from the past, but it was all the just short-term memory stuff.  She didn’t want to be asked questions.  She finally told me one day, she said, “Please don’t ask me any more questions.”  I said, “Okay, Mom.”

Wayne, Caregiver for Mother, 9 Years, California:
She has zero short term memory, so as I’m talking to her and she might be asking me a question like, “am I going to the senior center on Thursday?”  And I’d say, “Yes the bus is picking you up.”  Well as those words were leaving my mouth she would start asking the question again, “Am I going to the senior center on Thursday and whose taking me?”

Encourage a two-way conversation for as long as possible. This helps the person with Alzheimer’s feel better about himself or herself.

Claudia, Caregiver for Mother, 12 Years, Texas:
She won’t make a decision any more.  Even if we were to go out to eat, “What do you want, mother?”  She’d say, “No, no.  You pick for me.”

61% of Alzheimer’s disease caregivers rate the emotional stress of caregiving as high or very high.

Rudy, Caregiver for Mother, 4 Years, Pennsylvania:
But one of the things I do to get her to eat is I tell her the things that she used to tell us when were kids.  Like the vegetables are the most important part of the meal.  “That hasn’t changed, mom, it’s still true then, it’s true now, so you need to eat these vegetables.”

Use other methods besides speaking to help the person, such as gentle touching to guide him or her.

Laura, Caregiver for Mother, 8 Years, California:
Fighting doesn’t work, arguing doesn’t work, correcting her doesn’t work. So we just go with the flow and change the conversation a little bit and move on to something she’s happy about or something she likes to talk about and that’s what works for me.

Finding new ways of communicating with your loved one.

Content sponsored by Forest Laboratories, Inc.