Communication often is difficult with disease progression and memory loss. The individual may be able to understand more than they are able to express. The following tips may provide some additional clues for family and caregivers.
- Use touch (as tolerated by the individual) to gain and hold the person's attention as well as to calm and reassure if necessary.
- Assume that the tone of your voice and your body language may convey as much of the message as your words and act accordingly.
- Talk about things significant to the person: a treasured grandchild, beloved pet, hobby or favorite entertainment.
- Use props to enhance comprehension. Use pictures of family members or home, or point to the person or object.
- Try singing and rhyming, or saying familiar prayers, if these please the individual.
Do not give up communication attempts. Allow an extended amount of time for a response and accept positive nonverbal responses as encouragement to continue the conversation.