Simplifying your questions and being aware of nonverbal cues can make it much easier to talk with people who have Alzheimer’s disease or other short-term memory problems.
“Pay attention not only to what needs to be said, but how to say it,” says Kristin Martin-Cook, clinical trials coordinator of the Alzheimer’s Disease Center at UT Southwestern Medical Center.
Ms. Martin-Cook offers the following tips:
• When asking for a decision, present a few options to choose from rather than asking open-ended questions;
• Speak in short, simple sentences and use gestures as appropriate;
• Give directions one step at a time;
• Speak clearly and slowly without background noise;
• Maintain eye contact and touch the person in order to focus the person’s attention;
• Be aware of your nonverbal cues, such as tone of voice, body language or emotion; even someone with a cognitive disorder is sensitive to these; and
• Do not criticize the person’s speech or point out memory gaps. Prompt the person with missing words matter-of-factly.
Visit http://www.utsouthwestern.org/neurosciences to learn more about UT Southwestern’s clinical services in neurosciences, including the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease.
November is Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month.
Media Contact: Aline McKenzie
Return to November 2010 News Tips