When an aging adult has significant and worsening memory trouble, that makes being her caregiver a little more difficult. Talking to each other isn’t as simple as it once was and you may need to find some other solutions.
Take Your Time.
This is a new situation for your aging adult. In the past, she’s most likely been able to say or to write exactly what she wants to and it’s been an easy task. Now, it’s extremely difficult and she’s experiencing changes all the time that make it even more complicated. Remember that it’s not as easy for her as it is for you.
Stay as Patient as Possible.
Along with allowing plenty of time, be as patient as you can be during this process. Again, it’s a huge struggle to communicate and your senior may simply give up if the people around her are not giving her the time and the space to attempt to communicate in the ways that she can. Allow her to have her own voice for as long as she possibly can.
Help Her Fill in Blanks, but Carefully.
Talking with an elderly family member who has memory issues can be a little bit like a guessing game at times. There are times that helping her to find the right word or to finish her sentence gives her great relief. It can help her to feel that you’re right there with her and that you totally understand what she’s trying to share. But if you’re getting those blanks wrong, it can add frustration to what she’s already experiencing, so be careful with filling in those blanks too quickly or too often.
Use Nonverbal Cues and Tools.
Some aging adults have a difficult time coming up with the right word, but they can point to a flash card or use electronic tools to help her say what she’s trying to say. Look into using a variety of nonverbal tools and cues to help you communicate with your aging adult.
Remember that you may need to adjust what tools and techniques you use as your senior’s abilities change. Something you rely on today may not be effective tomorrow.