Tips for Talking to Someone with Dementia

Keep these suggestions in mind when talking to someone with dementia:

Identify yourself before starting the conversation and refer to the person by name. This will get the person’s attention and help make him more aware of who you are.

Keep it simple.Use basic language and keep anecdotes brief. Try to talk about only one topic at a time. Avoid slang, nicknames, and idioms.

Use positive body language and gestures. Stay relaxed to keep the person with dementia relaxed and comfortable. Use gestures or other non-verbal cues to make or reinforce your point whenever possible.

Minimize distractions. Turn the radio or television off and remove things from sight that are visually distracting. Sit down face-to-face in a quiet, calm place if possible.

Be mindful of the tone, pitch, and speed of your voice. Keep it friendly, low, and slow. See the video on the next page to learn more about this.