Tips for Communicating with Someone with Dementia

  • Take a moment to think about what you're going to say and calm yourself.
  • Wait until a quiet time when there are no distractions.
  • Have the person's full attention with good eye contact.
  • Try to speak clearly, calmly, and a bit slower than usual.
  • Short, basic phrases and sentences are best.
  • Keep the conversation light-hearted.
  • Including the person in conversations with others helps minimize any possible feelings of isolation.
  • Think of a positive way to say what you need to say.
  • Lots of pointed questions can cause frustration.
  • Offering two choices is better than offering too many options.
  • Be sensitive to the person's feelings that may be behind what they are saying.
  • Listen and encourage.
  • Tune into the person's body language and facial expressions so you can determine how they are really feeling.
  • Pay attention to your body language. Try to project calmness and patience.
  • If you are slightly below their eye level the person may feel more in control.
  • Use physical contact such as holding or patting the person's hand or putting your arm around them.

This information should not be taken as medical advice. Always check with a doctor if you have questions about dementia or memory loss.

For more information, please refer to the full article on the Alzheimer's website.