Communication Difficulties and Alzheimer'Dementia

Take Me To Post Comment Form

Difficulties with communication can be one of the most disturbing early signs of Alzheimer's disease. The destruction/damage to brain cells affects not only the ability to remember words but also the appropriate use of words. Repetitive questions because the person doesn't remember they asked that ten times already, inappropriate language, because they say what comes into their minds without the "social filter" healthy brains have, and anxiety about misspeaking may result social isolation and anxiety.
You may be hesitate to take the impaired person to church because you don't know what they may do or say. The impaired person may suddenly start using curse words you never knew them to use. When the mind begins to lose the ability to bring up appropriate words to express a feeling, the words that are connected with powerful emotions are typically the last words lost.
Patients may engage in word substitution (saying "that thing with yellow bumps on it" -instead of CORN ) or regularly fail to understand oral and/or written directions as the disease process interferes with the synapse connections in the brain that process language. They may be able to repeat the directions you said and still not understand it. They may be able to read an instruction yet be completly unable to perform the action indicated.
Ideas for dealing with communication problems include:
-Get their attention before you begin talking
-Speak in short, direct phrases
-Don't insist on reasoning and explaining again and again
-Make statements "We're going now." NOT "Would you like to go with me to .....and then we'll ....."
-Use gestures with your words
-The person is likely to remember the last two words of a statement. If you say, "Don't go to that door!" They may well only remember.."go to door", thereby doing just what you said not to do.
-Allow time for the person to express himself, don't suggest a word too quickly if they are stalled.
-If you still can't understand, repeat what you think they said and ask if that is what they wanted.
-Pay more attention to their body language than their words.
-Sometimes just providing a distraction, food/drink/noise, and then revisiting the conversation will help
-Don't respond to rude comments when this isn't their normal nature
-Join others at Statesboro support group for family care providers - 2nd Monday of each month at 1:30 at Statesboro First United Methodist church in the church library on the second floor. No reservations needed. Also go to or call 1-800-272-3900 24 hr. helpline for the Alzheimer's Association.

Latest Activity: Jan 04, 2013 at 2:09 PM

Bookmark and Share
Forward This Blog
Print Blog
More Blogs by caregiver
Send caregiver a Message
Report Inappropriate Content

Blog has been viewed (560) times.

Log In to post comments.

Previous blog entries by caregiver
Motor Problems With Alzheimer's and Parkinsons
September 30, 2014
Just because you have memory problems that doesn't mean you have Alzheimer's and just because you have Parkinson's it doesn't mean that you will develop Alzheimer's but there is a relationship between the two diseases. If you think of a brain as a small watermelon, the region sitting directly at ...
Read More »
Personal Care Issues - Get Over Embarassment
August 26, 2014
This isn't the way you want to see your mother/father/spouse. You never expected that you would be the one who has to help your incapacitated mother take a shower or help your dad put on his underwear. What do you know about buying disposable underwear and bed pads? How do ...
Read More »
Alzheimer's Dementia Changes a Spouse
August 04, 2014
Spending 30 plus years with a person, making plans for the future, considering what car to buy, sharing pleasure and you still share a home but you can no longer share a conversation with this person. Now, you find that you must protect him/her from your concerns and questions. ...
Read More »
Help Family Understand Alzheimer's Type Dementia
July 03, 2014
The physician said, "Your loved one is suffering from a progressive neurological disease called Alzheimer's type dementia." This diagnosis is given every day to people in the Coastal Georgia area. What does this mean for the patient and for the people who live with her? Is anyone else in the ...
Read More »
Keeping a Healthy Brain
June 04, 2014
I recently read that people over the age of 70 are more concerned about Alzheimer's Disease than cancer, heart attack or stroke. This is a valid concern, based on statistics and the fact that no one survives Alzheimer's Disease. At this time, there is no surgery, chemotherapy, or prosthesis device ...
Read More »
[View More Blogs...]

Powered by
Morris Technology