Speaking With Love
Martin Luther King Jr. said it best.“In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends. Here are some Do’s and Don’ts that will help you break the silence and make sure your kind words are remembered.
- Watch The Body Language
A smile and a kind voice go a long way. Your loved one may have Alzheimer’s but they still know a frown when they see it and a disappointed tone cuts just as deeply.
- Keep it Simple
Give simple instructions to your family member. Only give them one step at a time. If you give them too many instructions at once, they can’t process your request. If you need to repeat your instructions make sure to do it with a loving tone.
- Slow… Down…
No one likes a motormouth. Slow your speech down, way down. Give your family member time to process what you’ve said (even as much as a minute or more for those with severe dementia).
- Do You Validate?
Everyone likes to be validated, especially those with Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia. If your family member says something that doesn’t make sense to you, don’t correct them; agree with them. For example: If your husband says he has to go to work right now, instead of telling him he doesn’t have a job, ask him something about the work he used to do. The last thing he needs is to be reminded that he doesn’t have a job and that his brain isn’t working as well as it used to.
Arguing with your dad who has Alzheimer’s is not a good idea. Alzheimer’s prevents him from reasoning well. Instead of arguing just agree with him and try to find ways to better understand what he needs.
Don’t ask questions that emphasize your family members memory loss. Asking general questions and avoiding specifics is a good rule of thumb.