Connecting with a Loved One with Memory Loss Part 1: How to Best Communicate

May 1, 2020

When a loved one is diagnosed with memory loss, you may be unsure how to connect with them and find effective ways to communicate both verbally and non-verbally. Connection is essential to seniors and caregivers, so it’s crucial to learn an array of ways to help you and your loved one communicate.

How to Communicate with a Loved One with Memory Loss

Memory loss can pose a number of unique communication challenges. From changing abilities to increasing frustrations and miscommunications, it’s important to learn how to adapt so you can connect with your loved one in an easier manner. Consider some of the following ways from the Alzheimer’s Association® to improve communication.

  • Understand that your loved one will have stages of different changes. Different stages of memory loss can come with different challenges. The early stages, middle stages and late stage will have different difficulties. The sooner you understand the differences, the easier it will be to communicate.
  • Learn more about the challenges they may have. Depending on your loved one’s form of memory loss they may have difficulty finding the right words, describing familiar objects, use familiar words repeatedly, lose their train of thought, speak less often or rely on gestures more.
  • Don’t exclude your loved one. Your loved one will still want to communicate, so refrain from talking about them as though they aren’t there and speak to them, not just their caregiver or companion.
  • Listen to their thoughts and feelings. Your loved one is going to need support and understanding. Be sure to listen to them, be patient, don’t interrupt them and be an ear for them to lean on.
  • Ask what form of communication is most comfortable for them. Whether it’s face to face, over the phone, writing emails or simply holding their hand, knowing what makes them most comfortable is valuable in helping them communicate with you.
  • Try to limit distractions. In the middle stages, loud noises, distractions and overwhelm can make communication difficult. Be sure to maintain eye contact, go to a quieter place and be clear in your speaking.
  • Ask yes or no questions or give visual cues. If your loved one has a hard time answering you, be sure to ask simple questions that they can answer yes or no to. Maybe it’s easier to write your question. Do whatever will help your loved one communicate with you better.

At The Grande at Sterling Estates of West Cobb, we are here to help make your journey of caring for a loved one with memory loss a little easier. If you have any questions on how to best communicate with your loved one, would like assistance with your concerns or you simply want to find some support, contact us today. We would be happy to help you.

Stay tuned for part two of this blog, where you can learn more about what activities you can do with your loved one with memory loss.

Experience The Sterling Life

At The Grande at Sterling Estates of West Cobb, we provide an exceptional experience for those in need of a Memory Care Center of Excellence. Our residents can enjoy everything they need to live engaging and fulfilling lives – from an array of programs and activities and a variety of amenities, to the peace of mind of dedicated care.

With spacious features that include a fitness center, dining room, and a greenhouse as well as small, easy-to-navigate neighborhoods for residents to enjoy, they can experience safety and comfort as well as the independence to explore.

As a partner with the Hearthstone Institute, we provide Dr. John Zeisel’s I’m Still Here® programming to change the way residents live. Each day, they can experience a joyful, fulfilling and active life while experiencing the care they deserve. To learn more, contact us today!

Call us at ​770-383-1779 for more information or to schedule a personal visit today.