As a loved one’s Alzheimer’s disease progresses, it can become more and more difficult to communicate with them. It can feel disconcerting to lose the feeling of closeness and connection you once had. With a little creativity and a few tricks up your sleeve, you can have fulfilling encounters that are enjoyable to the patient. They will also leave you feeling good about your time together.
One such way to connect with our loved one is through music. Music is a wonderful pastime and tool. They say being involved in music helps children do better in school, specifically in math. It can also work for our aging friends as a trigger of memories of the past. Have you ever heard a song that reminded you of a past event or person? This is because music, memory and emotion all activate the same region of the brain. Even in Alzheimer’s patients, a song can strike a chord. It may be because the area of the brain affected by music, the prefrontal cortex, has been shown to remain intact longer than others of a person with the disease.
If you know how to play an instrument, like the piano, sit down and play a familiar song with an Alzheimer’s patient. “Happy Birthday” or holiday songs such as “Jingle Bells” are ones that many people will be able to recognize from a lifetime of singing them. Think of songs that were their favorites or that they may have listened to in their younger years. If you don’t know how to play an instrument there are many other options. Burning a mix CD of favorites or listening to the songs together on an iPod will let you personalize the selection you share with that person, making it even more special. For longer lasting enjoyment that the patient can experience, even after you’ve left or gone about your daily business, leave a music box nearby. Music boxes often play familiar tunes and your loved one will be able to listen to it even when they are alone. You might also share it with the visiting caregiver.
If you do not experience a reaction the first time, don’t give up. Keep trying. The goal is to create a pleasant experience together. Just because you may not be able to hold a complete verbal conversation does not mean you cannot communicate in other meaningful ways.
New Hampshire home health care for Alzheimer’s disease patients is MAS Home Care’s specialty. If you are feeling distressed about your ability to communicate or connect with your loved one due to the disease, contact MAS Home Care today. We may have the insight you need for positive interactions!
MAS Home Care provides home care services to Maine, New Hampshire and Rhode Island.