Communicating with an Elder who has a Cognitive Impairment

Home Care in Omaha NE

Home Care in Omaha NEAs an older adult continues to age, so does their brain. Remembering anything, even if it is information they just learned, can prove to be pretty challenging. If this is something you have noticed about your own elderly parent, they are probably suffering from a cognitive impairment. Not only can this disability cause problems with the senior’s short term memory, but it can also make it difficult for older adults to communicate.

Elders with a cognitive impairment have trouble following directions, focusing on one specific task, and expressing verbally how they are feeling or what they want. A home care provider can be hired to help care for your loved one, especially when going to public places where communicating with others is the most difficult. Here are some other tips that will help you talk to the elder in a way that they will understand.

  • Directly address them. When trying to talk to your loved one, make sure that you use their name and make eye contact with them. By doing this, they will know that you are talking to them and will better understand what is being said.
  • Speak normally. If you have the urge to speak loudly and slowly, refrain from doing it. Older adults with a cognitive impairment may become offended by this behavior since they will be able to understand what is being said at a normal speed.
  • Use simple instructions. While they will be able to understand what someone is saying at a normal speed, they may become confused if the instructions or question is too complex try to keep the directions as simple and step-by-step as possible. For example, instead of telling the elder to get dressed you could ask them to put their shirt on.
  • Remove all distractions. If the elder seems to be paying more attention to the TV than what you are saying, turn it off. Remove or turn off all distractions that may take the senior’s attention away from you.
  • Talk to them at the right time. If you ask your loved one to help fold clothes at a time they are tired, you probably will not get the results you want. Try to engage with them when they are the most alert and able to understand you.

A cognitive impairment is something that often injures the elder’s ability to think, talk, or comprehend a conversation. With these tips, you will be more successful when attempting to engage with your aging loved one.


If you or an aging loved one are considering home care in Omaha, NE, please contact the caring staff at Seniors Helping Seniors® Greater Omaha at (402) 215-0308 today.

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