Posted on February 4, 2009 - by Nurse Virginia
Word loss can be predicted for the senior with Alzheimer’s disease.
As a person goes through the stages of this disease they will lose the ability to talk. In the very beginning they have word finding problems, and they start substituting words, when they forget a word. In the mid-stage they may have just a few words and in the late stage many times they have only one word left and it is yes, or no.
Confused seniors no longer understand concept words.
As people with Alzheimer’s disease lose the words they say, they also are losing the ability to understand words. So when working with someone in the mid-stage who has few words saying to them “do you want to have lunch” won’t be understood. This is why Alzheimer’s specialist say to use concrete words and when ever possible show the item.
As a very young child grows they first can identify a banana by seeing a real banana. They then progress to being able to identify a picture of a real banana, then a drawing of a banana and finally they understand the word banana and can be asked if they want a banana without showing them the fruit itself.
Persons with Alzheimer’s disease lose their words and the meaning of the words in the same order they gained those words. So for the person who is losing these words, once again showing them an actual banana and saying do you want a banana will work much better than the word alone.
Help the senior understand by showing.
So when you talk to a person with Alzheimer’s disease, turn “do you want to have lunch” from a question into a statement “let’s have a sandwich” while you show the bread and lunch meat.
Anytime you turn a question into a statement and an idea into something concrete to be seen you will have greater success.
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