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How to Communicate Better with Someone with Dementia

People with dementia can be insecure and anxious, which can make communication difficult. With love and understanding – and this expert advice – you can sidestep common problems

1. Never-ending questions…

If it’s the 20th time you’ve been asked who you are, move their minds on. ‘I’m Sally, your niece – let’s look at these photos’, could help.

2. Blanked out
It’s easy to ignore unresponsive people, but it’s important to include them in conversation. Making eye contact when you speak and repeating what they say (‘You say Mary, then?’) encourages them to open up.

3. ‘Who’s taken my purse?’
Dementia means people may make false accusations and there’s no point in arguing. Show you feel their distress by apologising without taking the blame. Try ‘I’m sorry your purse has gone, let me look upstairs.’

4. Supper-time meltdown
Feeling agitated at dusk is common in dementia. Taking your guest into a quiet room or going for a short walk should calm them.

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