How to talk to someone with Alzheimer’s

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Posted Mar 20th, 2020 in Alzheimer's & Other Dementias

How to talk to someone with Alzheimer’s

When someone has Alzheimer’s or other dementia, it can harder for them to understand or follow a normal (to us) conversation which is why using short direct sentences with only one topic per sentence is recommended. This style of communication is much more comfortable for them as there is less information to process at a time.

Take a look at these 4 real-life examples that will help you to communicate better with your loved one.

Example 1: It’s time for your older adult to use the restroom
DO say: It’s time to go to the bathroom now.

DON’T say: It’s been about an hour or more than an hour from the time you went to the bathroom, so why don’t we go to the bathroom and you can give it a try. Ok? How does that sound? Do you want to go to the bathroom now?

Example 2: It’s time for your older adult to have lunch
DO say: Mmmmm, it’s time to eat spaghetti!…(pause)…Let’s go to the kitchen.

DON’T say: Hey, it’s lunch time and I prepare one of your favourites – spaghetti.​ Let’s go to the kitchen so you can eat.
Are you hungry?? You need to eat!!!

Example 3: You’re taking your older adult to a doctor appointment
DO say: It’s time to go out…(pause)…Here’s your jacket…(pause)…Let’s get into the car.

DON’T say: We have today the appointment with the Dr. Lee, so she will help check you and give you new medication. You know what? It’s cool today, why don’t you put on your jacket while I get the keys and then we’ll go out to the car together.

Example 4: A family member or friend has come to visit
DO say: It’s Mike, your brother…(pause)…He’s come to say hello!

DON’T say: Hey, you have a visitor! Do you remember him? He’s your brother!

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