Alzheimer’s disease and Communication

Speech is frequently affected in Alzheimer's disease. An understanding of simple speech remains intact during the early stages, but difficulties in finding and expressing the correct word usage can start very early on in the disease.

The Alzheimer sufferer also experiences difficulty in interpreting complex conversations, proverbs and metaphors. In other words, it becomes very difficult to string a complex sentence together.

Later as the Alzheimer's disease progresses, sentences become difficult to finish. The sufferer will usually wander onto another subject and they often repeat the same words over and over again.

Writing and reading can be affected quite early in the disease, with spelling difficulties becoming apparent. There is also an associated lack of interest in the task involved, and they are very often left uncompleted.

The taking of messages especially over the telephone can prove particularly difficult, and is often the catalyst that uncovers the dementia in the first place. The Alzheimer's disease sufferer will have difficulty following the conversation. They will probably realise they are having these difficulties become more confused and frightened, which will make their problem worse.

As the Alzheimer's disease worsens, communication problems increase. As the ability to find the words needed to complete a sentence or become involved in a conversation decreases, other words (paraphasias) are added into the gaps left. This usually means the true meaning of the conversation is lost.

Comprehension skills also decrease; questions may not get answered, because they are not understood, keeping a sentence going often proves too difficult for the sufferer and the often swift changes of subject we all indulge in proves too much for them.

Eventually their whole speech often becomes babbling gibberish, and gradually the Alzheimer sufferer withdraws from talking altogether.

In advanced stages of the disease, communication eventually becomes impossible as the sufferer is usually unable to let even their basic needs be known to others.

In a few Alzheimer's sufferers, there may be some automatic verbal response on occasion, but usually by this time the burden of communication more often than not falls on the shoulders of relatives, friends and carers.

Alzheimer's Disease Guide

Alzheimers Disease
History of Alzheimer's Disease
Types of Dementia
Risk Factors for Alzheimer's Disease
Diagnosing Alzheimer's Disease
Treatment of Alzheimer's Disease
Memory loss in Alzheimers disease
Disorientation and Alzheimers Disease
Disorientation and Alzheimers disease in the home
Alzheimers Disease and Personality
Alzheimer’s disease and Communication
Alzheimer’s disease and sexual behaviour
Alzheimers disease and Risk
Sleep and Alzheimer Disease
Malnutrition and Alzheimer’s disease

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