Non-Verbal Communication: Beyond Words

Communication is more than just language and speech. Non-verbal communication is increasingly important as the dementia progresses. This may include hand gestures, body language, facial expressions, eye contact, touch, and even actions. For people with dementia who get frustrated or angry when having a conversation, or can not longer find the words to express themselves, can still use non-verbal communication to connect with others.

Try using non-verbal communication to:

  • Reinforce a message – asking a person if they want something to eat, and then pointing to the refrigerator, helps clarify the question.
  • Convey agreement or disagreement – nodding “yes” or shaking your head “no” will help the person with dementia understand how you feel.
  • Take the place of words – a warm smile or hug conveys a message just as strongly as words can.