Millions of people have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in the U.S. It’s not surprising if you know someone with Alzheimer’s. It could be your mom or dad.
When a parent has Alzheimer’s, there is a large learning curve. It’s not too bad in the early stages, but the disease will progress. As it does, communicating with your parent is a challenge.
Here are some of the reasons why it’s hard and how to deal with it.
Aphasia is a language disorder caused by the deterioration or damage in the brain. It’s commonly found in stroke victims and Alzheimer’s patients. It makes it hard for your parent to come up with the right words when talking to you. It also makes it hard for them to understand what you’re saying.
When aphasia sets in, you need to watch how and what you say. It’s not easy to do this when you’ve spent years talking. Cut sentences to five words or less. Avoid difficult vocabulary. Keep everything as simple as possible.
Many Alzheimer’s patients are mad. They’re mad that they can’t make their brain work like it used to. They’re mad that they got the disease. When this happens, your parent won’t want to listen to reason. As hard as it is, you’ll probably hear that your parent would rather kill him/herself than reach the point where bodily functions are lost.
When your mom or dad is having a moment of anger, anything you try to say will be met with rage. It’s best to sit and listen and not say a word. If your parent becomes physically or verbally abusive, it’s okay to walk away and return after the moment of anger passes.
Face Front and Look at Your Parent
Hearing difficulties may appear, too. If you notice your mom or dad is having a harder time hearing you from across the room, make sure conversations are face to face. Look right at your parent when you talk. Don’t shout, but make sure your volume is loud enough and doesn’t get softer at points.
Caring for an aging parent who has Alzheimer’s is so very difficult. It’s tough to watch the decline. It’s hard to handle the rage and agitation that can be directed your way. Take care of yourself. Senior care agencies work with families to make sure they’re taking breaks. Call our senior care agency to arrange respite care now.