communication tips

One of the biggest challenges those connected to Alzheimer’s and dementia

residents face is communication. Families want to stay connected to their loved

one but as cognitive abilities change, communication skills also change. Finding

communication techniques that work best for your loved one will make conversations

flow more easier and will make the most of your visits. Reviewing the tips below,

will assist in communicating with the one you love.


        • When you arrive at the resident’s home, do not ask the resident what they

          have been doing. This creates anxiety for the resident which creates anxiety

          for you. The resident may have difficulty remembering what they have done

          for the day. Make your greeting about the present moment. For example,

          “Rose, look at that beautiful sweater you are wearing. It goes so well with

          your hair.”


        • Make sure the individual hears you. Many seniors are hard of hearing. Try to

          maintain eye contact so they know you are still engaged in conversation.


        • Lower the pitch of your voice. A lower pitch is easier to hear.


        • Eliminate distracting noises like television and radio.


        • Use short words and short sentences.


        • Ask only one simple question at a time. Complex choices may overload the

          person’s ability.


        • Speak slowly and wait for the person to respond.


        • People with Alzheimer’s and Mild Cognitive Dementia respond very well to

          emotional cues. If you are tired, stressed, or angry they will pick up on it.

          Before visiting someone with dementia, get in a good space. Approach the

          resident in a happy mood because they will always pick up on it.


        • Always remain pleasant, calm, and supportive.


        • Express affection.


        • Look directly into the person’s eyes.


        • Point, touch, hand the person things.


        • Some people have difficulty finding words. It’s okay to supply words. If you’re

          not sure it’s the right word, just go with the flow.


        • If you cannot understand what the person is communicating, pick up on a

          phrase or word and run with it. Don’t worry about not understanding.


        • Focus on connecting. Communicating moment by moment creates lasting

          connections for your and your loved one.