by Dr. Tiney Ray


senior disabled woman with caregiver in the garden

Doctors and other healthcare professionals make up the heart of critical care for your loved one living with dementia. They work together with family, friends, and other trusted individuals to provide support during the patient’s life with the disease. It’s imperative that the dementia patient’s family develop and maintain clear channels of communication with professional care partners. Frequent and open communication will ensure your loved one receives the best care possible.

People with Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia may experience changes in communication skills and self-care abilities, including:

  • Frustration when communication doesn’t seem to be working
  • Difficulty paying attention during conversations
  • Understanding the meaning of simple words and sentences
  • Frequent loss of train of thought
  • Remembering how to complete simple, common tasks like getting dressed, paying bills, preparing food

This means it’s up to family members to discuss concerns and changes in behavior with professional care partners on a regular basis.

Tips for communicating with professional care partners

When your loved one is first diagnosed, take the time to understand what to expect as the disease progresses and how to cope with new symptoms and behaviors. The care team will have printed and digital resources to share with you. These will be invaluable tools for educating yourself and other family members about the disease.

Some questions you may consider asking at this stage include:

What is my loved one’s official diagnosis?

What tools and tests were used to make the diagnosis?

What are these tests designed to measure?

Could my loved one’s symptoms be caused by anything else?

How will the disease progress?

Are there daily activities I can encourage the patient to carry out that may help him or her have a better quality of life with the disease?

How can I prepare for the future as the disease progresses?


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