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Elizabeth Bemis

By: Elizabeth Bemis on December 19th, 2012

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Alzheimer's Communication During the Holidays

assisted living  |  assisted living in TN  |  assisted living memphis TN  |  60-day stay trial  |  Aging & Caregiving

describe the imageThe holiday season can often be a stressful time for Alzheimer’s caregivers, families and patients. Although, this may seem like an impossible task to deal with, there are ways to cope and communicate with a person living with dementia during the holiday season.

The key to dealing with this difficult season is to focus on feelings. Think about how the person living with Alzheimer’s feels. Try to use short answers and focus on nonverbal communication. The more information and words you use, the more complicated your answer is, the harder it is for the person with Alzheimer’s to understand.

A simple form of communication would be a smile. A smile represents a feeling of happiness, comfort, and support. Although Alzheimer’s patients have a difficult time remembering, they can still understand feelings. During this holiday season make sure you smile when engaging with your loved one and patiently wait for them to smile back.

Touch is also a very powerful way to communicate feelings nonverbally. The communication now is not about the words and memory; it is about the feelings and connection. Being able to bridge the gap into the world of someone dealing with Alzheimer’s will allow you to feel calmer and develop a sense of understanding.

Although the deeply forgetful can’t remember the right now, they can still remember the past; memories that were stored in the brain before Alzheimer’s set it. Try sitting your loved one down at the kitchen table to start a friendly conversation about old memories. People often sit around the kitchen table to reminisce and tell stories so this will be seen as a place of comfort and support. With luck, the person with Alzheimer’s will start telling a story that is loosely based on fact. They can put together a story that is entertaining and believable. Listen closely, you may notice each fact or part of the story is coming from a separate memory and are being patched together.

It is important to enjoy the time you get to spend with your loved one dealing with Alzheimer’s and be as supportive and comforting as possible. By staying calm and properly helping them with their needs, they will still be able to try and tell stories based off older memories and be able to feel love and support from their family and friends.

Need Help?

There are several options available for assisted living facilities that cater to those with Alzheimer's. United Methodist Home, Foxbridge specializes in memory care in the Memphis, TN area. To learn more visit our website www.umh.org/foxbridge/

For more information about Alzheimer’s Disease visit http://www.alz.org/.

About Elizabeth Bemis

In 1998, I drove past an assisted living community construction site, learned that it was part of United Methodist Homes and realized the next stop on my professional journey was to work for a mission driven organization. Soon after, I joined the team as Executive Director of our Middlewoods of Farmington community and later served as Regional Manager for the Middlewoods properties before accepting my current role as Vice President of Marketing, Promotions, and Assisted Living Operations. I enjoy spending time with my family, cooking, reading, walking, and love working alongside our staff, residents, and families to build strong communities that reflect the mission, vision, and values of United Methodist Homes.

Our Blog is a 2016 Platinum Generations Award Winner! The Generations Award is an annual international competition for excellence in senior marketing recognizing professionals who have communicated to the 50+ Mature Markets.