Voices of Alzheimer's Caregivers: Part Five

Four Alzheimer's caregivers discuss strategies for calming their loved ones.

June 25, 2009— -- This is part five of the transcript from a special roundtable discussion featuring Alzheimer's caregivers. In this section, the participants -- Alice, Maureen, Phyllis and Joe -- talk about how to improve communication with their loved ones and keep them calm.

How Do You Calm and Communicate With Your Loved One With Alzheimer's?

ALICE: How do you get your mother to communicate? [She asks Maureen] Is there anything that gets her to relax, makes it easier to communicate? With my husband, it's music.

MAUREEN: Oh, really.

ALICE: Yeah, I can put on music and when I go out riding, which he likes to ride; he loves riding all over the place and listening to music -- '50s music. He'll remember the lyrics to most of the songs.

MAUREEN: Oh, wow. It relaxes him?

ALICE: Yup, it keeps him calm and happy.

ALICE: But music ... it's amazing how he can remember all the lyrics from the '50s.

MAUREEN: I think communication with my mother, the key, key, key that I found is just to keep her calm -- not get her agitated.

ALICE: That's like him.

MAUREEN: I read in one of the pieces of literature that touch is really important. ... I'll give her a hug and I'll kiss her. She's so cute. ... She's got such a good nature.

JOE: I gave up on taking my wife shopping. We go down the aisle and she puts everything in the cart. And I have to keep putting things back ... and then she goes off on her own and gets lost.

Get Expert Answers at the ABC News OnCall+ Alzheimer's Center

PHYLLIS: I've been doing a lot of reading, being new to this journey, and one of the caregiver books for Alzheimer's patients notes to talk in short sentences in a low tone of voice. And I've been trying that out. And it seems to be working very well.

Roundtable Discussion: Keeping an Alzheimer's Patient Calm

PHYLLIS: But finding a passion they've had, and keeping them interested in that passion and keeping them going with that passion -- a book or doing crossword puzzles ... that's when we start to see the true person coming back that we know. It keeps him lively.

Alzheimer's Caregiver Roundtable Topics

  • Part One: Joining an Alzheimer's Support Group
  • Part Two: Early Warning Signs of Alzheimer's
  • Part Three: Challenges of Daily Living -- Bathing, Dressing, Etc.
  • Part Four: When You're No Longer Recognized
  • Part Five: Tips on Calming a Loved One With Alzheimer's
  • Part Six: The Fear of Inheriting Alzheimer's
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