For people living with dementia, having difficulty in communicating with others can be one of the most frustrating and challenging issues they face.
Each person with dementia is affected differently but some of the most common ways communication can be impacted include:
- Having trouble finding the right word
- Struggling to keep up with conversations or to fully grasp what is being said
- Forgetting some of the normal conventions of conversation and interrupting or ignoring people when they are speaking
To communicate better – be patient and caring
It’s important to be patient when speaking to people with dementia and give them the time they need to gather their thoughts and finish their sentences.
It’s also important to have empathy and show that you care. Even as a person’s communication abilities deteriorate, they still retain their emotions and ability to pick up on feelings and moods from your body language.
Here are some tips to keep in mind when communicating with people with dementia:
- Allow enough time for what you’ve said to be understood and for the person to finish what they are saying
- Remain calm and talk in a matter-of-fact way
- Keep sentences short and simple, and focus on one idea at a time
The National Dementia Helpline is a free service that provides information and advice to all people who would like to know more about dementia or access services and support.
Dementia Australia’s national library service offers a comprehensive collection of print and digital resources about dementia. Explore the resources guide for this Dementia Action Week daily tip.