An Alzheimer’s diagnosis can be confusing for everyone involved-but a child might have more questions as to what is happening. The following are tips that all families can use when communicating with a loved one with dementia, as well as activities that children can engage in with their loved one.
The National Institute on Aging recommends the following communication tips:
- Identify yourself and always approach from the front.
- Maintain eye contact.
- Use short, simple sentences and speak slowly.
- Keep tone of voice low and pleasant.
- Make sure facial expressions are warm and friendly, and use non-verbal cues.
- Give time for your loved one to respond to your question.
- Always repeat your question exactly the same way.
- Do not say, “Don’t you remember?” Don’t try to test your loved one’s memory.
- Give directions simply and one at a time.
- When helping with personal care, tell your loved one what you are doing each step of the way.
- Keep calm. Your loved one can become tense and agitated if you are rushed or stressed.
These communication tips can be used by children and adults when communicating with a loved one. Keeping these communication tips in mind, children can spend time with their loved one by engaging in activities. Here are 10 activities that the Alzheimer’s Association recommends:
- Take a walk around the neighborhood.
- Put a puzzle together.
- Color or draw pictures.
- Create a scrapbook or memory box with mementos.
- Read a favorite book or story.
- Bake cookies.
- Listen to or sing old songs.
- Weed a garden or plant flowers.
- Eat a picnic lunch outside.
- Watch your favorite TV show together.