woman looking at scrapbook with senior with alzheimerNot being able to communicate verbally is a difficult situation for both the affected individual and their family members.

Seniors who have Alzheimer’s, dementia or have experienced a stroke may be unable to communicate verbally. Even so, there are a number of ways families may communicate with them.

Embassy Healthcare offers the following advice to reach these loved ones in the absence of expressive communication:

Appeal to Their Senses

Even without words, your loved one can likely still experience emotions through their sense of sight, touch, taste, hearing, and smell. Try to bring back memories through any of the following sensory experiences:

  • Music: Music has a way of transcending physical limitations. Listen to music your loved one enjoyed in the past.
  • Food: The smell of food cooking can have a comforting effect on the soul. Prepare some food they used to enjoy making, or simply sit down with them during mealtime as a way to spend time together.
  • Stroll down memory lane: Look through family albums, talking about favorite stories and loved ones. Even if they don’t seem to remember those times, you may both find comfort in talking about the memories.
  • Show them affection: They may not respond much to your touch, but show them that you love them with a hug, kiss or by holding their hand.

Express Yourself

Although words may be tough to express or decipher, your loved one can still pick up on what you show through facial expressions. Smiles convey warm emotions that your loved one can feel, maybe even returning your expression with a smile of their own. If they seem upset, smiles can help trigger a calming effect.

Learn to Let Go of Expectations

For you to enjoy your interactions with your non-verbal loved one, you have to let go of expectations of what you’ll be getting in return. Similar to interactions with a newborn, conversations with someone with late-stage dementia can be entirely one-sided. You don’t get verbal communication in return, but you can still express and receive love from them.

To learn more about Embassy Healthcare’s dementia services, call 888-975-1379 or contact us online.