Home Instead Blog

Do's and Don'ts of Dementia Communication
Jun 30, 2014

More than 41,000 Irish people currently live with dementia.  With this number likely to rise to 147,000 by 2041, understanding dementia communication strategies is vital.  
Dementia communication differs widely from everyday communication! 

Home Instead Senior Care recommend the below Do's and Don'ts of Dementia Communication 

  • Talk to the person in a tone of voice that conveys respect and dignity
  • Keep your explanations short. Use clear and flexible language.
  • Maintain eye contact by positioning yourself at the person's eye level. Look directly at the person and ensure that you have their attention before you speak. Always begin by identifying yourself and explain what it is you propose to do.
  • Use visual cues whenever possible.
  • Be realistic in expectations
  • Observe and attempt to interpret the person's non- verbal communication.
  • Paraphrase and use a calm and reassuring tone of voice.
  • Speck slowly and say individual words clearly.  Use strategies to reduce the effects of hearing impairment.
  • Encourage talk about things that they are familiar with
  • Use touch if appropriate.     
  • Talk to the person in 'baby talk' or as if you are talking to a child.
  • Use complicated words or phrases and long sentences.
  • Glare at or 'eyeball ' the person you are talking to.
  • Begin a task without explaining who you are or what you are about to do.
  • Talk to a person without eye contact, such as while rummaging in a drawer to select clothing .
  • Try and compete with a distracting environment.
  • Provoke a catastrophic reaction through unrealistic expectations or by asking the person to do more than one task at a time.
  • Disregard your own non- verbal communication.
  • Disregard talk that may seem to be rambling.
  • Shout or talk too fast.
  • Interrupt unless it cannot be helped.
  • Attempt to touch or invade their personal space if they are showing signs of fear or aggression.

If you are interested in finding out more about how to care for a loved one living with Alzheimer's or other Dementia then please register for a FREE Dementia Education workshop here.