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Things you should know about Alzheimer's and speech

Alzheimer’s disables communication
Anyone caring for someone with Alzheimer’s knows that communicating with them is not easy. Each stage of the disease offers its own unique challenges. Sufferers’ speech patterns become increasingly more difficult to understand and they often make up their own words or phrases.

Normal aging or something more?
Alzheimer’s sufferers experience more bouts of forgetfulness than average individuals over 60. This forgetfulness, profoundly impacts their language and their ability to speak and communicate. Individuals need more time to process their thoughts, formulate a response and then verbalize it.

A language all their own
In the mid and later stages of AD difficulty speaking becomes more pronounced. Individuals talk in gibberish or their own language. In their mind, however, they are using the right words. Their sentences become short and unclear and their speech resembles more of a childish babble.

What is a caregiver to do?
Caregivers and family members must employ different means of speaking and communicating. Language is less effective, especially in the disease’s later stages. Eliminate distractions when talking to an Alzheimer’s sufferer. They focus better if there is nothing else vying for their attention. Maintain a friendly tone of voice. Speak slowly and deliberately. This helps individuals hear and absorb your words. Face the person and always maintain eye contact.

Alzheimer’s or something else?
An individual’s speaking difficulties may be due to frontotemporal dementia, a rare disorder that preys upon the brain’s frontal and temporal lobes. Impairments vary from limited speech to no speech. In extreme cases individuals become mute.
 

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