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Improving Communication with Parkinson’s Disease

Effective communication is key in any caregiving relationship, and can help you (as a family caregiver) better understand and meet the needs of your aging parent or loved one. However, if you have an aging parent or loved one living with Parkinson’s, the need for effective communication is of even more importance.

Although Parkinson’s is a movement disorder, it also causes mild cognitive impairment which can make it difficult for your loved one to effectively communicate in the mid and late-stages of the disease. Seniors with Parkinson’s will have a harder time managing complex tasks, processing information and understanding complex sentences. It is also common for seniors with Parkinson’s to speak at a very low decibel, and their speech patterns may change, speaking much more slowly or with a stutter.

If you provide home care for an aging parent or loved one with Parkinson’s, it is important to find the right communication strategies to help overcome any barriers to effective communication. Along with having patience, check out the following tips for how to enhance communication with a loved one with Parkinson’s:

  • Face Your Loved One – When you are speaking to your loved, make sure you are facing them and make eye contact. Also, concentrate only on the task at hand, and try not to switch topics quickly or randomly.
  • Speak Slowly and Clearly – Speak at a slow pace, in short, simple sentences. Make sure that your loved has digested what you told him before continuing the conversation. You may also want to use hand gestures to help facilitate the conversation.
  • Be Honest – Let your parent or loved one know if you are having a difficult time following the conversation. For example, don’t be afraid to ask him or her what was just said, or to speak up if you were unable to hear them.
  • Eliminate Background Noises – When speaking to your loved one, try to eliminate any background noises and other distractions that can make a conversation difficult to maintain. This can include turning off the television or radio, or moving to a quiet room that your loved one is comfortable in, such as his or her bedroom.
  • Look Into Hearing Aids – Your loved one may also be experiencing a decline in their ability to hear, a common side effect of the natural aging process. Schedule an appointment with your loved one’s doctor and see if he or she may be a good candidate for hearing aids.

Learning how to work together with your loved one can help to improve the flow of communication and can ensure that his or her needs are met. To learn more about caring for a senior loved one with Parkinson’s, reach out to Home Care Assistance of Redondo Beach. We are a trusted Redondo Beach Parkinson’s care provider, with highly trained Parkinson’s caregivers who are available for both hourly and live-in care. Call us at 310-504-0506 to request a complementary, no-obligation consultation today!