The Lean on Us Foundation Leigh High School Chapter recently visited the Palm Villas Memory Care facility. The purpose of their trip was to get to know the residents of Palm Villas by conversing with them, playing board games and even reading to them. As they were preparing for their visit they worked with the Palm Villas activity coordinator to better understand the needs of the residents. She reminded the Leigh chapter that the residents of Palm Villa might have a hard time communicating, participating in any physical activities (such as playing cards) and that they may not be very welcoming or friendly. A Leigh chapter member shared, "We've learn't that when interacting with those who suffer from memory loss there are some guidelines for conversations." Below are some tips and reminders from the Alzheimer's Association:
Alzheimer's disease and other dementias gradually diminish a person's ability to communicate. Communication with a person with Alzheimer's requires patience, understanding and good listening skills. The strategies below can help both you and the person with dementia understand each other better.
Changes in the ability to communicate can vary, and are based on the person and where he or she is in the disease process. Problems you can expect to see throughout the progression of the disease include:
- Difficulty finding the right words.
- Using familiar words repeatedly
- Describing familiar objects rather than calling them by name
- Easily losing a train of thought
- Difficulty organizing words logically
- Reverting to speaking a native language
- Speaking less often
- Relying on gestures more than speaking
The LHS Chapter reports, "We did our research and followed the above guidelines. We had a great afternoon with the residents of Palm Villas!"