Alzheimer’s is a progressive disease that steadily does damage to various parts of the brain. It’s often during the later stages of this condition when seniors are more likely to stop talking or verbalizing clearly, which is in no way a reflection of their intelligence. The extent of this type of impairment may vary, but it can be concerning when it happens. Here’s what you can do when a senior loved one with Alzheimer’s stops talking.
Make Eye Contact
As mentioned above, no longer being able to talk due to Alzheimer’s doesn’t mean comprehension isn’t still possible. Establish eye contact with your loved one and say his or her name to make sure you have his or her full attention. As you begin speaking, stay focused on your loved one’s eyes to hold his or her attention.
Pay Attention to Facial Expressions
Even when verbal communication is no longer possible, people with Alzheimer’s can still be expressive with their faces. After you say something, pause briefly to give your loved one a moment to process what you’ve said. If it looks like he or she didn’t fully understand, rephrase what you were trying to say, and use his or her facial expressions as a cue as you continue.
Living with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia can make it difficult for seniors to manage daily tasks without assistance. If your senior loved one has been diagnosed with a serious condition and needs help with tasks like meal prep, transportation, bathing, and grooming, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of senior home care families can trust. We also offer comprehensive care for seniors with dementia, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s.
Look for Signs of Discomfort
Not being able to clearly articulate or speak can make it difficult for seniors with Alzheimer’s to let someone know they’re in pain. Get into the habit of looking for nonverbal signs of pain, which might include:
• Favoring one side of the body
• Suddenly refusing to eat certain foods
• Making unusual sounds
• Acting out for no clear reason
Get Creative with How You Communicate
Do some experimenting with different visual or auditory cues to see what your loved one responds to. For example, you can show your loved one photos of turkey and ham to help him or her choose what type of sandwich is preferred. Other possibilities for creative forms of communication include:
• A chalkboard, if your loved one can still use his or her hands
• Specially designed picture cards that can be used to display feelings and basic needs
• Using vocal inflection and tone to ask simple “yes” or “no” questions that can be answered with a head nod or shake
Caring for a senior loved one can be challenging for families who don’t have expertise or professional training in home care, but this challenge doesn’t have to be faced alone. Family caregivers can turn to Orlando Home Care Assistance for the help they need. We provide high-quality live-in and respite care as well as comprehensive Alzheimer’s, dementia, stroke, and Parkinson’s care.
Respect Personal Space
Once the ability to talk is lost, people with Alzheimer’s may feel like they have very little control over their immediate environments. Allowing for personal space as you interact can provide a sense of security and safety. For times when you get closer to your loved one, announce what you’re doing first to avoid startling or frightening him or her (e.g., “I’m going to help you get dressed now, okay?”).
Keep Talking to Your Loved One
Even though your loved one with Alzheimer’s is no longer talking doesn’t mean you should also stop talking. Everybody likes to feel valued and respected. For instance, when you clean your loved one’s room or go through the process of helping him or her bathe, you can remind him or her about fun times from the past or tell him or her what’s going on in your life right now.
Recovering from a stroke, managing the symptoms of Alzheimer’s, and a variety of other health-related situations can make it difficult for a senior to continue living at home without someone there to help. Altamonte Springs, FL, live-in care professionals are trained to help seniors who need 24/7 assistance. With the help of a live-in caregiver, your elderly loved one can maintain a higher quality of life while aging in place. Reach out to us at Home Care Assistance if you need compassionate, professional care for your loved one. Call one of our dedicated Care Managers today at (407) 232-7155 to learn about the high quality of our in-home care services.