Tips for Listening to Someone With Dementia

Here are some general guidelines for listening to someone with dementia.

Be patient. The person may need more time to find the right words to express his point. If you express frustration, this may lead him to getting frustrated or upset, also.

Be reassuring and supportive. Encouraging the person to take his time and continue will give him confidence that he can still carry on a conversation. Try saying, “It’s important to me to hear what you have to say, just take your time”.

Be agreeable. Arguing with someone who has dementia is usually a pointless battle. Even if you don’t agree with a point that is being made, try to be agreeable or just change the subject. It is also not a good idea to point out when he is using words or names incorrectly – just “go with it”.

Be creative. It can be difficult to understand the point that the person with dementia is trying to make, especially if they are forgetting and/or substituting words. Don’t focus so much on the words that are being said, as the overall message. Try to read body language and emotions to decipher the meaning of his message.