If you’re living with Alzheimer’s, dementia, or other forms of memory-loss related conditions, you should know that cognitive decline is a common symptom and severely impedes the individual from being fully independent and going through their daily life smoothly. Cognitive decline is widely regarded as a loss of intellectual function, as the affected individual increasingly faces mental challenges, such as processing information, problem-solving, and analyzing details. However, what most people may not know is that our overall cognitive health does play a part in our speaking skills as well. To find out more about the relationship between a senior’s cognitive skills and speech, continue reading.
Link Between Cognitive Skills and Speech
When an individual faces cognitive decline, their memory skills and capability to retain information decrease as well. This can pose significant challenges in their social life as they’re no longer able to converse with family and friends normally. In addition, some details said in a previous conversation may be forgotten, resulting in the constant repeating of information during social meetings. The individual may also have a low concentration span, which causes them to stray away from the conversation and have a hard time focusing on what’s being spoken. This on top of regular mood swings and easy irritability can alienate the individual from other people, thus making them more vulnerable to social isolation.
How Cognitive Skills Can Also Affect the Caregiver
While most people would only think that cognitive impairment affects the individuals themselves, this is not the truth as it affects the people surrounding them as well, such as the caregivers, family members, and close friends. If the caregiver speaks in a high-pitch tone or has a tendency to speak too fast, this may further agitate loved ones. Such tone of voice can even be regarded improper at times when the affected individual feels immediately threatened, afraid, or harassed by the caregiver. As such, it’s important for caregivers to be more sensitive to their feelings. For caregivers, it’s also recommended to avoid dumping too much information at once and giving out unnecessary gestures that may distract and confuse the patient.
Ways to Practice Good Communication and Speech
Good communication and speech are and would always be crucial in all contexts. In order for both parties to understand each other and prevent misunderstandings from occurring, it’s important to send out clear and efficient communication. This applies not only in personal life but also in the workplace and everyday life, in general. Listed below are some ways to adopt better communication skills, especially if you or an individual is living with cognitive impairment.
- Always ensure the conversation is taking place in a quiet and calm environment that’s free of potential distractions, such as television and radio. If there’s a group of people talking loudly in the room, it’ll be good to leave the area as well and find a more suitable space.
- Both parties should sit face-to-face with each other and have constant eye contact throughout the conversation.
- Speak slowly if possible and in a clear manner, especially if the affected individual is wearing hearing aids and has a difficult time listening clearly.