The ability to communicate through spoken language may become difficult to understand or may be lost. The person then has to use other forms of communication to express a need. As the disease progresses the person may communicate their needs increasingly through their behaviour. It is important to look for meaning: What is he or she trying to say? Understanding what the person is trying to say with this behaviour may prevent some difficult behaviour from developing.

Useful Tips

communication_Dementia-imageMake sure you can be seen and heard:

  • If a person is using a hearing aid make sure the hearing aid is on.
  • Stand in front of the person where they can see you.
  • Place yourself at eye level when talking or listening
  • Identify yourself
  • Use the persons name

Make the communication simpler and easier to understand:

  • Avoid talking across/over about the person with Alzheimers Disease
  • Speak gently and clearly – avoid shouting
  • Ask one question at a time
  • Wait for a response before continuing
  • Explain what you are going to do and what you are doing
  • Use a statement rather than a question
  • Keep instructions short and simple – give only one task at a time
  • Use hand gestures · Smile to reinforce your words
  • Show your concern with reassurance and acceptance
  • Praise when it is appropriate
  • Respond to the feelings expressed by the person
  • Touching is very important and very reassuring to the Alzheimers patient.

Reference: Harvard Health Letter Special Report, Commonwealth Dept. of Health and Family Services (The Carer Experience)


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