President Bush named September 12th as the National Day of Encouragement in 2007. Since then, it’s been a day to encourage others to try their hardest or do things they need to do, even if it’s difficult.
Your mom is in speech therapy, and those sessions are increasing as her Alzheimer’s progresses. These sessions and exercises frustrate her. Here are six ways you can support her through her important sessions and exercises.
Have Realistic Expectations
Your mom’s speech therapist can help her maintain her ability to swallow and show her other ways to communicate. However, Alzheimer’s will continue to progress. Speech therapy won’t stop the disease from advancing. Make sure your expectations of what your mom will and will not be able to do are realistic.
Set Up the Best Environment For the Practice Exercises
Distractions are going to make it harder for your mom to concentrate and focus. Set up a quiet room with no distractions. Comfortable seating and her favorite beverages and snacks will help keep her in a positive mood for her speech therapy exercises.
If your mom loves being outside in the sun, try to work on her speech therapy exercises out on the deck or patio. If she’s happier inside, set up a low-traffic area where you can keep others from interrupting.
Join Her as She Does Them
If you’re doing the exercises at the same time, it’s less embarrassing for her. She won’t feel so alone. If she needs to be doing tongue exercises where she moves her tongue in specific positions, do them too. If it’s vocal exercises, do them with her.
Plan Fun Activities
When she’s frustrated and doesn’t want to keep going, stop and do something else. Play a game, have a snack, or put on music and dance. It helps her to reset her frame of mind. When she’s calm and ready to try again, you can go back to it.
Don’t Force Her to Keep Going
Know her limits. Don’t force your mom to keep working on her exercises if she’s in a bad mood or not concentrating. It’s going to be ineffective. Take a break and then return to it.
If you try to force it, she’s going to react negatively and that will resonate with her. The next time she needs to do her exercises, she’ll remember the negative experience.
Listen to the Experts
You’re new to this, but your mom’s speech therapist isn’t. Her speech therapist will have plenty of tips to share on other ways you can support her.
No matter how hard she finds some of her sessions, encourage her to keep trying. She doesn’t have to be perfect, but she does need to try her best. Speech therapy can make a difference when it comes to maintaining communication skills and being able to swallow foods and beverages.