Top Tips for Visiting with a Senior Who Has Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimer's diseaseIt can be a little intimidating to know exactly what to talk about and just how to act when spending time with someone you care about who has Alzheimer’s disease. And, sadly, due to a number of inherent elements of Alzheimer’s, sometimes family and friends feel so uncomfortable they avoid visiting the person anymore. Understanding more about the disease and what to anticipate, and preparing in advance about the best way to manage challenging behaviors, might help.

The main difficulties members of the family and friends encounter in their senior loved one with Alzheimer’s disease fall into one of three categories: a change in behavior, reduced memory, and communication ability; and the level of difficulty will most likely fluctuate in line with the particular stage of the disease the senior is currently experiencing.

As a way to help overcome these challenges while making the visit as enjoyable as you possibly can, CareWorks Health Services’ Laguna Hills Alzheimer’s care professionals recommend the following strategy:

  • Start off your visit with a smile, and also be prepared to re-introduce yourself if required.
  • Use simple language and brief sentences, and speak slowly.
  • Steer clear of arguing with or correcting the senior.
  • Bring along photos from a favorite past memory for reminiscing.
  • Listen to a number of the person’s favorite songs together, and ask the senior to dance if he or she would like!
  • Go on a walk together when possible, or any other physical exercise. This may make the visit more fulfilling for both of you.
  • Continue to be calm through your visit, even when the senior becomes agitated or displays inappropriate behavior.
  • Maintain a sense of respect throughout your conversation, understanding the person probably will repeat questions and statements.
  • Reduce distractions, providing the individual with your full attention.
  • Most importantly, keep in mind who the person was pre-dementia, and remind the person what he or she did which has inspired you or helped you become the person you are today.

To get more advice on effective communications with those with Alzheimer’s disease, or for specialized hands-on care assistance, contact the Alzheimer’s care team at CareWorks Health Services. Our skilled dementia caregivers are fully trained and experienced in many different tactics to make sure seniors with Alzheimer’s disease remain secure and safe and therefore are in a position to live life to the fullest, with the utmost respect and compassion at all times.