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.
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
Do you want to know more about Alzheimer's symptoms, risk factors, tests or treatment? Visit the ABCNews.com OnCall+ Alzheimer's Center to get all your questions answered.