Nurses encounter all kinds of people on the job, and if you work with geriatric patients in any capacity, you’ve probably met your fair share of Alzheimer’s patients. This devastating neurodegenerative disease affects 19% of people aged 75-84, and 42% of people 85 and older. Many elderly patients have some form of Alzheimer’s or dementia, ranging from mild cognitive impairment to a complete loss of the ability to speak and communicate.
It’s always challenging to communicate effectively with Alzheimer’s patients, who suffer from substantial cognitive impairment and memory loss. These tips can help you talk to Alzheimer’s patients more effectively, despite their neuropsychiatric deficits.
Changing Your Communication Style
Every person with Alzheimer’s disease is unique, and you’ll need to adjust your communication style on a case by case basis. People with this disease have difficulty with both speaking and understanding language comprehensively.
You may notice some patterns in how these patients communicate, including:
- Using familiar words repeatedly.
- Inventing a new word to describe a familiar object.
- Losing their train of thought easily
- Reverting from a second language to a native language
- Difficulty organizing words in a way that makes logical sense