Communication is considered a shared responsibility. However, in dealing with persons affected with Alzheimer’s and dementias, the responsibility for understanding and being understood lies squarely with the caregiver.
Communication is quite simply the act of conveying or sharing information. Alzheimer’s and related dementias eventually create a barrier to effective communication, mostly dealing with the language part of communication.
What is language? Language is the way we receive or understand and the way we express messages. It is not speech. Speech is the verbal means of communicating, or articulation. Speech is seldom affected by dementias such as Alzheimer’s. Language, on the other hand, is often negatively affected and compromised. The decline, or loss, of language is known as aphasia.
Communication is more than talking and listening; it deals with relationships. If Alzheimer’s and dementia are greatly affected by an ability to communicate then one can infer that the relationship between the affected person and caregiver would be greatly affected as well. With a decline in language, the caregiver usually feels a decline in the relationship. This can lead to a hidden danger of viewing a loss of communication as a loss of a person even though they are still here. This often leads to isolation, loneliness, frustration, and loss of quality of life to name a few hardships shared by the person affected with Alzheimer’s and dementia and the caregiver.
Because the quality of life of both the person with Alzheimer’s and the caregiver depends so much on the nature of their relationship, it is critical that they maintain the best possible communication throughout the entire course of the person’s illness.
This is the fundamental belief and core purpose of Caregiver Cards. We believe that by using Caregiver Cards as an assistive tool in keeping communication alive amongst the caregiver and person living with Alzheimer’s and dementia throughout the duration of the illness, we can help maintain a nurturing and rewarding relationship for you and your loved one! What a joy and blessing, indeed!