DALLAS, Nov. 4 (UPI) -- Speaking slowly, simplifying questions and being aware of non-verbal cues can improve communication with those with Alzheimer's disease, a Dallas expert says.
Kristin Martin-Cook -- clinical trials coordinator of the Alzheimer's Disease Center at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas -- suggests when talking to someone with Alzheimer's disease or memory problems, do not criticize the person's speech or point out memory gaps. Instead, prompt the person with missing words matter-of-factly, she suggests.
"Pay attention not only to what needs to be said, but how to say it," Martin-Cook says in a statement.
Martin-Cook suggests when speaking to a person with memory problems:
-- When asking for a decision, present a few options to choose from rather than asking open-ended questions.
-- Speak in short, simple sentences and use gestures as appropriate.
-- Give directions one step at a time.
-- Speak clearly and slowly without background noise.
-- Maintain eye contact and touch the person to focus the person's attention.
-- Be aware of your non-verbal cues, such as tone of voice, body language or emotion, because people with a cognitive disorder are sensitive to these too.