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Encouraging Comfortable Communication

Part 1: How to Communicate with a Loved One Experiencing Dementia

Memory issues can affect an individual’s ability to recollect basic information and decrease everyday skills, such as communication with family and friends. As Alzheimer’s disease and dementia progress, the way a person communicates may gradually change over time.

Communication can help people with dementia sustain relationships and maintain their sense of independence. Your loved one’s ability to reason clearly and present rational ideas may lessen, but there are many ways you can help them continue to cultivate meaningful conversation.

Cultivate Clear Consistent Conversation

There are a number of ways to encourage conversation with your loved one when you notice them having difficulties. Difficulties may present as hesitation to start conversations on their own or an increase in the delay of their responses.

  1. Focus on speaking clearly and slowly with short sentences. Give them simple choices so they’re not overwhelmed.
  2. Make eye contact with them when they are talking or asking questions. Acknowledge what they are saying, even if the responses don’t make sense.
  3. Pause frequently to give them time to respond so they don’t feel pressured to answer quickly. When they’re comfortable, try encouraging them to participate in group conversations.
  4. Give them the space to speak for themselves when asked about their health or wellbeing.
  5. Try not to patronize them or overly correct their answers. Instead, rephrase questions if they are having trouble understanding.

Using these tips routinely will help your loved one maintain and grow their comfort level with clear communication.

Willow River is Here to Help

At Willow River, we understand the challenges that Alzheimer’s and dementia can bring. If you have questions or need help, Willow River has the answers and resources you need. Call Willow River Senior Living at 888-546-1886 or contact us through our website to start the conversation today.