Communication Tips for Alzheimer’s Disease

news-freedom-elder-care-new-jersey-communication-aphasia-stroke-patientAlzheimer’s disease gradually diminishes a person’s ability to communicate. People with dementia have more difficulty expressing thoughts and emotions, as well as more trouble understanding others.

Here are some tips to help in communication and understanding:

  • Learn to create a ‘kind voice’ – slower, lower, smiling.
  • Talk slowly and clearly.
  • Call the person by name.
  • Always approach the person from the front so there are no surprises.
  • Tell the person who you are, even if you are the spouse or child.
  • Ask one question at a time.
  • Use short, simple words and sentences.
  • Avoid using logic and reason.
  • Avoid quizzing.
  • Avoid asking, “Do you remember when…?”
  • Do not take any negative communication personally.
  • Be careful not to interrupt.
  • Avoid criticizing, correcting and arguing.
  • Let the person know you are listening and trying to understand what is being said.
  • Keep good eye contact.
  • Show the person that you care about what is being said.
  • Patiently wait for a response as extra time may be required to process your request.
  • Repeat information and questions. If the person doesn’t respond, wait a moment. Then ask again.
  • Focus on the feelings, not the facts.
  • Sometimes the emotions being expressed are more important than what is being said.
  • Let the person think about and describe whatever he or she wants.
  • If the person uses the wrong word or cannot find a word, try guessing the right one.
  • If you don’t understand what is being said, ask the person to point or gesture.

Tip resources from Alzheimer’s Association: