Talking to People with Alzheimer’s

There is no easy way to live with Alzheimer’s or to care for those with Alzheimer’s. This type of dementia affects over 5.5 million Americans. The care begins with understanding the disease and being able to talk to those who are affected. People with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia can be difficult to talk to, due to their change in memory and time perception. Despite this challenge, communication is key to keeping those with Alzheimer’s content and cared for.

Here are some ways to help you communicate:

  • • Eye contact is very important and helps to establish connection while assuring them you are paying attention.
  • • Use the person’s name as often as possible, therefore, helping them remain engaged.
  • • Reduce distractions by finding an isolated room when engaging in conversation.
  • • Oftentimes, conversations with multiple people can be confusing. Avoid interjecting on conversations and discourage others from joining.
  • • Be very specific, refer to the names of places/things/people, avoid using it/them/there/he/she/her/him.
  • • Avoid arguments; they may not remember their point and the quarrel could be endless and frustrating for both.
  • • Patience is key; refrain from ending their sentences. Ask direct questions, additionally, you may have to remind them what the conversation was about.
  • • They may have forgotten that someone close has passed away and this can be hard. Instead of reminding them of the loss, you should enter their current concept of reality to make it easier for them.
  • • It’s okay to be creative; use props or pictures to communicate.