Editor’s Note: The following post was originally published by OpenPlacement, a California healthcare company. I’m sharing it here because I like the focus on finding positive ways to communicate with people affected by Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias. — MAB
It is critical to have dementia communication strategies. Because dementia gradually diminishes a person’s ability to communicate properly, it can become very difficult and complex. This requires patience, understanding and good listening skills. Below are a few suggestions in an infographic that we created on how to overcome that barrier between you and the person with dementia.
Dementia Communication Strategies:
- Some signs of dementia progression affecting communication – using familiar words repeatedly, inventing new words to describe familiar objects, easily losing his or her train of thought, reverting back to a native language, having difficulty organizing words logically, and speaking less often.
- Suggestions on communication:
- Identify yourself and call the person by their name.
- Offer comfort and reassurance.
- Avoid criticizing, correction, or arguing.
- Help with unfamiliar words.
- Turn questions into answers.
- Turn negatives into positives.
- Give visual cues.
- Most importantly be patient – It is important to keep calm and talk about the communication issues you are having. By questioning or arguing, this will cause unnecessary frustration and stress and will possibly heighten the level of agitation for the person with dementia.
— Alyssa Chan
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