10 Tips for Communicating With Someone Who Has Dementia or Memory Loss
Sometimes, people are unsure how to effectively communicate with their loved ones who have memory loss related to dementia or Alzheimer’s. Recognizing that your loved one has a brain disorder requiring special care is the first step toward connecting. The memory loss and brain impairment associated with the disease process can make expressing his or her thoughts difficult. Patience and understanding will help.
The following suggestions and guidelines can make communication more meaningful and less stressful for all parties.
- Remember that your loved one still has feelings, but may have difficulty expressing them due to brain changes resulting from Alzheimer’s or dementia.
- Try not to remind him or her about any forgetfulness.
- Talk about one subject at a time.
- Use short sentences.
- Avoid confrontation. Change the subject if needed.
- Allow plenty of time for your loved one to listen and understand what has been said. Silence is okay.
- Try to set a cheerful tone.
- Your loved one’s feelings are more important than the actual words being said, so respond to those.
- Don’t take anything personally.
- Forgive your loved one and remember that he or she has a disease causing communication issues.
Learning how to communicate with a loved one who has memory loss takes patience and skill. The Alzheimer’s Association offers education programs that may help. Our highly-trained Parc Provence staff can also provide ideas to help you communicate effectively, while our community provides comfortable settings for relaxed conversation as well as a variety of stimulating activities to enjoy with your loved one.