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Effective Communication Strategies & Problem Solving Difficult Behaviors Heather Gray Family Support Coordinator Alzheimer’s Association 1.800.272.3900.

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Presentation on theme: "Effective Communication Strategies & Problem Solving Difficult Behaviors Heather Gray Family Support Coordinator Alzheimer’s Association 1.800.272.3900."— Presentation transcript:

1 Effective Communication Strategies & Problem Solving Difficult Behaviors Heather Gray Family Support Coordinator Alzheimer’s Association

2 Workshop Objectives To better understand how it feels to have Alzheimer’s disease. To learn the principles and practical techniques in communication. To learn the principles and practical techniques in understanding and addressing challenging behaviors.

3 Understanding how it feels to have Alzheimer’s disease

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5 Confusion ► Central problem in Alzheimer’s disease ► Source or stimulus for emotional and behavioral problems ► Ability of cognitive powers to keep confusion at bay dwindles ► Evokes feelings and needs that cannot meet

6 A Disease of Emotions ConfusionDiscomfortBehavior

7 Effective communication and flexibility Prevention and reduction of symptoms

8 Principles for Understanding Communication Understand what isn’t possible to change Thoughts, beliefs and actions significantly impact behavior All behavior has meaningConnecting overrides the task

9 Benefits of Compassionate Communication Fosters self- esteem Reduces frustration Strengthens independence Enhances relationship Benefits

10 Steps to Compassionate Communication

11 Be a Good Listener 1 Express Interest Don’t Interrupt Focus on Feelings Be Patient

12 Facilitate a Connection ► Establish eye contact ► Use touch and gestures ► Use a calm voice ► Speak simply and slowly 2

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14 Check the Environment ► Be in plain view ► Avoid bright and dark settings ► Set aside a quiet place ► Reduce distractions 3

15 Adjust Your Approach ► Think ahead ► Give simple instructions ► Ask one question at a time ► Be mindful of facial expressions and body language 4

16 Focus on Remaining Skills ► Match activities to abilities ► Encourage activities of independence ► Respond to feelings, not words ► Establish routines 5

17 Effective Communication Tips Do’s Repeat Accept blame Leave room Agree Use distraction Don’ts Reasoning Argue/Confront Reminding Questioning recent memory Take it personally

18 Understanding and Addressing Challenging Behaviors

19 Common Behavior Challenges Pacing, wandering Loss of inhibition Impulsiveness Repetitive questioning Agitation, aggression Resistance

20 Why Difficult Behavior Occurs? ► What was the behavior? Is it harmful to the individual or others? ► Did something trigger the behavior? ► What happened immediately before and after the behavior? ► How did you react?

21 Physical / Emotional Medications Acute/ Chronic Illness DehydrationDepressionPain & DiscomfortSensory LossConstipationFatigue Environmental Space Stimulation excess No cuesNo structureClutter Too many steps Not modifiedToo complexUnfamiliar Communication Lack skills Can’t understand Factors of Difficult Behaviors

22 The 6 “Rs” 1 Remain Calm Respond to Feelings Reassure the Person Repeat When Necessary 2 Remove Yourself Return Later

23 Our Mission is to eliminate Alzheimer's disease through the advancement of research; to provide and enhance care and support for all affected; and to reduce the risk of dementia through the promotion of brain health


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