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DIRECTLY FROM INDIVIDUALS LIVING WITH MEMORY LOSS Communication Tips • Speak with a smile so I know that you care; a smile takes away tension and helps put me at ease • If you are tense, I feel your tension too • Use language I understand—keep it simple, no jargon or slang • Slow down your speech • Keep it short and to the point, one idea at a time • Let me take the time to think through what you said to me • Let me set the pace and be the leader in the conversation • Make sure you have my attention • Pause once you say your thoughts so I can say my thoughts • Give me time to find the words and to say my thoughts • Take turns during a conversation • Let me finish what I am trying to say, it take a little longer, sometimes it takes a lot longer • Please repeat information if I ask • Make sure I hear you, ask if I understand what you have said • Adjust your tone of voice up or down; louder isn’t always better • Face me when you talk, eye contact helps to get my complete attention • Please don’t interrupt me • Please be patient. Don’t give up on me. I really do want to be a part of the conversation
via conference call. She helped us understand the disease and reach a place of acceptance. This does not mean giving up, but rather, seeing things as they really are. She helped us realize that fighting Alzheimer’s results in anger, fear, anxiety and negative energy while acceptance of it allows us to have love and compassion for ourselves as well as for others. Filled with acceptance and gratitude, Ken and I committed to becoming advocates for the Alzheimer’s Association, to become voices to speak up and out for all the millions also on this journey, to bring awareness and education to professionals, legislators and even doctors, to distill the stigma surrounding this disease. We want every person living with Alzheimer’s, every caregiver, everyone affected, to hear and experience the words we heard from the Alzheimer’s Association, “We are walking beside you on your journey. You are not alone.” Ken says that being able to reach out, educate, advocate and support other people diagnosed with Alzheimer’s gives him a sense of worth and makes him feel that he has a purpose. As his wife and caregiver, I have also had the opportunity to be an advocate and educator as a volunteer for the National Alzheimer’s Association. Ken and I have given presentations to many groups about the incredible services the Alzheimer’s Association provides, are working with the legislators in Minnesota to initiate a campaign of Alzheimer’s awareness and have served on the Center for Memory and Aging Advisory Council in Saint Paul for several years. In September I am speaking to my P.E.O. chapter to bring awareness and acceptance for our sisters living with this disease. Together, we will continue to reach out with more loving kindness, understanding and acceptance to our sisters living with this disease themselves or as caregivers.
September–October 2022 | THE P.E.O. RECORD
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