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Communicating with Alzheimer's sufferers

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  1. Speak slowly and calmly.
  2. Repeat yourself, if necessary, using the same words you used the first time.
  3. Simplify your sentences or break them into smaller parts. Instead of saying, “I’m going to the store to get some milk for lunch,” simply say, “I’m going to get milk.”
  4. Avoid complicated questions and give simple, one-step commands. Instead of, “Would you like to have some of this apple to eat?” say, “Here is an apple.” Instead of, “Come to the table for dinner,” say, “Walk to the table. Sit in the chair. Eat your dinner.”
  5. Make sure your environment is free from distractions like television, radio, etc.
  6. Give your loved one a chance to respond even though it might take a while.
  7. Pay attention to non-verbal cues. Sometimes it’s easier to understand what your loved ones mean if you watch their body language and actions, rather than the literal meaning of what they may be trying to say.
  8. Use non-verbal forms of communication to convey thoughts and ideas. Try facial expressions, hand gestures (like pointing), pictures, pantomime, etc. With persistence and creativity you’ll find what works best.
  9. Keep communicating even if you think your loved one does not understand you. Do so in a calm, soothing voice, which can also help prevent mood swings or emotional upsets.
  10. Remain supportive and upbeat, and be generous with affectionate gestures such as touching and hugging.

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