Effectively Communicating with Loved Ones Who Have Dementia

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, those with dementia experience a “decline in memory, language, problem-solving and other thinking skills that affect a person’s ability to perform everyday activities.” Here are some helpful tips for effectively communicating with loved ones that have dementia:

  • Create a positive and upbeat energy. Your facial expressions, tone of voice, and body language help to set the mood for each conversation you have. When speaking with loved ones who suffer from dementia, make sure you are careful to begin the conversation with an upbeat energy. Go above and beyond to ensure you approach this person in a pleasant and respectful manner.
  • Ask one question at a time. Don’t overwhelm your loved one with too many questions at once. Asking questions that only require short or one-word answers are easier for them to answer. Also, visual cues can be incredibly helpful!
  • Be patient. When your loved one doesn’t understand what or who you’re talking about, it can be frustrating and even disheartening. However, remember that this person is struggling with a disease and try not to take their memory loss personally.
  • State your message clearly. Slow down when speaking to your loved one struggling with dementia. Pause longer in between sentences. Give them a chance to process what you are saying.
  • Limit distractions. To communicate effectively, eliminate any background noise by turning off the radio or television. Before you start talking, be sure to first use the person’s name and share with them yours.

Morrow Manor Nursing Center is passionate about helping those who struggle with dementia. That’s why we offer the Pathways Memory Program.