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Techniques For Effective Communication

Communicating with people with dementia requires helping the individual communicate and helping them understand. This takes time and patience with both the affected person and with ourselves. It also takes practice.


    1. Maintain communication in as nearly as normal a context as possible.

    2. Try to maintain a conventional form of conversation and exchange, no matter how confused the individual's language appears.

    3. Communication through nonverbal channels is very important.

Communication is a combination of our words, tone of voice and body language. Remember to use them all together.


NAME Use the person's name often.

RESTATE QUESTIONS INTO STATEMENT FORM. Many times the impaired individual cannot make choices that questions include, or he may feel threatened by questions. Try restating ''Give me your coat?'' with "I'll hang your coat with mine.''

RESTATE NEGATIVES. Try to restate negative statements into positive Replace ''Don't go out that door,'' with ''Let's go into the kitchen.'' or ''That's not yours.'' with ''Take this instead, Chet.

USE ONE STEP DIRECTIONS. Break directions down into manageable steps, waiting for the individual to complete each one before going on.



AVOID USING REASON AND LOGIC any great length. Many impaired people, who cannot follow steps or process statements, will not be able to understand the reasons why or logical explanations. They may just become frustrated. A SIMPLE explanation is however sometimes appropriate.

DO NOT STOP TALKING to your loved one as he/she loses his/her verbal abilities. There is still benefit from conversation.

AVOID THE USE OF PRONOUNS, as they can be difficult to associate with what they represent. ''Here it is.

EMPHASIZE KEY WORDS OR NOUNS WHEN SPEAKING. ''Here is your COFFEE.'' ''It is time to have LUNCH.''

NOTE YOUR APPROACH. Approach is simply your manner of advance and includes both our tone of voice and body language.

    CALM AND GENTLE. Try to maintain a clam, gentle tone of voice.

    KEEP AN EASY GOING MANNER. Remember your loved one can often pick up, and may respond to your tone/approach.

    USE A NON-DEMANDING AND NON-THREATENING APPROACH. It is often difficult to convince someone that it is time to go to the bathroom if you are giving an order. Reassurance is much more is effective. ''We have to use the toilet now. versus ''Let's take a walk to the bathroom.''

    YOU CAN CREATE THE MOOD when you approach someone. Your loved one will often take your lead.


ESTABLISH EYE CONTACT before speaking to your loved one. Maintain this eye contact.

APPROACH your loved one from the front.

YOUR STANCE becomes important when speaking to your loved one.

MOVE SLOWER. Try to move as if you are in slow motion


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