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Interpersonal Communication and Alzheimer's

Aug 17, 2007
Alzheimer's is a progressive neuro-psychiatric disease, found particularly in aging people, affecting their brain. During the early stages, speech may not be affected much, but later, as the disease progresses, sentences are difficult to finish. Language deterioration is one of the early symptoms of Alzheimer's disease. People suffering from Alzheimer's experience difficulties in communicating, learning, thinking and reasoning. This lack of ability to communicate is severe enough to have a negative effect on an individual's work, social activities and family life.

During the early stages of the disease, there is no problem of understanding of simple speech. However, difficulties in finding and expressing the correct word usage can start very early on in the disease.

Interpretation of complex conversations, proverbs and metaphors is another difficulty experienced by the sufferers of Alzheimer's. Stringing a complex sentence together is another of their difficulties.

Later, as the Alzheimer's disease progresses, the sufferer will usually ramble on from one subject to another and often repeat the same words over and over again. The find it very difficult to finish the sentences.

Another communicating skill that gets adversely affected quite early in the disease is writing and reading. Spelling difficulties also becoming apparent. There is a complete lack of interest in the task involved, and they are very often left uncompleted.

One particular task that is very difficult to accomplish is the taking of messages, especially over the telephone. This is often the means that uncovers Alzheimer's disease in the first place. The Alzheimer's disease sufferer will have difficulty following the conversation. They will probably realize they are having these difficulties, become more confused and frightened, which will make their problem worse.

Communication problems increase as the Alzheimer's disease progresses and worsens. The ability to find the words needed to complete a sentence or become involved in a conversation decreases. Other words (paraphasias) are added into the gaps leftand the true meaning of the conversation is lost.

Comprehension skills decrease. questions are not understood and may not get answered. Keeping a sentence going often proves too difficult for the sufferer and the often swift changes of subject we all indulge in proves too much for them.

Gradually the Alzheimer sufferers withdraws completely from talking altogether and eventually their whole speech often becomes babbling nonsense.

As the sufferers of Alzheimer's disease is usually unable to let even their basic needs be known to others, communication eventually becomes impossible in advanced stages of the disease.

Although a few sufferers of Alzheimer's disease may show some automatic verbal response on occasions, usually by this time the burden of communication more often than not falls on the shoulders of relatives, friends and carers.

As the power to communicate reduces further, there is a sense of frustration and other severe reactions, such as mood change, signs of aggression, start to come up. Step by step, the symptoms progress from mild decline to moderate decline, to moderately severe decline, to severe decline, to very severe decline. By and by, the sufferer of Alzheimer's disease becomes more subdued and withdrawn in socially and mentally challenging circumstances.

There is a need to immediately consult your doctor the moment you notice any early symptoms of lack of interpersonal communication in your aging loved ones. The earlier the Alzheimer's disease is diagnosed, the earlier you can avail of the treatment. To an untrained eye, the early symptoms may seem to be the normal ones for the aging people, but it is always advisable to seek immediate second opinion.
About the Author
Please visit Facts on Alzheimers for more useful information on Alzheimer's disease, signs, symptoms, treatment, medication, memory loss, and other related Alzheimer's information.
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