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Aging Parent


The Dos and Don’ts of Communicating with Alzheimer’s

Communication is how we relate to others, an integral part of our relationships, and the way we express our thoughts, wants, and needs.

The state of our brain heavily influences the way we communicate and interpret messages. Alzheimer’s is a disease of the brain. As Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia progress, they severely impair a person’s ability to communicate. Communication with a person suffering from Alzheimer’s requires patience, listening, and understanding. Sometimes delivery of a message may have a different impact then what we intended.

Care giving and communicating with Alzheimer’s can be challenging, indeed. Here are our Dos and Don’ts for better communication with Alzheimer’s and Dementia.

10 strategies you should DO when communicating with Alzheimer’s:

1. Be patient and supportive
2. Encourage non verbal communication
3. Limit distractions
4. Avoid criticism or correcting
5. Focus on feelings not facts
6. Try to include people with the disease in the conversation
7. More listening and less talking
8. Speak directly to the person
9. Practice clear, concise communication. Avoid lengthy requests.
10. Treat the person with dignity and respect

10 things you should NEVER DO when communicating with Alzheimer’s:

1. Never argue, instead agree
2. Never reason, instead divert
3. Never shame, instead distract
4. Never lecture, instead reassure
5. Never say “remember”, instead reminisce
6. Never say “I told you so”, instead repeat
7. Never say “I can’t, instead do what they can
8. Never command, instead ask
9. Never condescend, instead encourage
10. Never force, instead reinforce

Communication is an everyday part of our lives and sometimes we can’t help the way our brain processes things, especially for someone suffering from a mind altering disease. In general; if you approach communicating and care giving with Alzheimer’s, with compassion, patience and understanding you’re off to the right start.