How to Make Communicating with a Loved One with Dementia Easier

Elderly Care in North York

You might find that talking with your elderly loved one can be difficult if she has dementia. That doesn’t mean that your loved one doesn’t understand, but you may need to use different techniques to communicate effectively with her.Elderly-Care-in-North-York

Set a Positive Expectation

If you go into any conversation with your elderly loved one dreading the event and acting as though it’s going to be the worst conversation ever, you’re likely to have a bad experience on both sides. A better approach is to set the most positive expectation that you can for every interaction with your loved one. Smile, use a happy tone of voice, and project an overall feeling of well-being.

Make Sure You Have Your Loved One’s Attention

When you do start the conversation, make sure that you have your loved one’s attention. The best ways to do this are to first try to gain eye contact with your loved one. Pause and smile once you have eye contact and then you can start talking with her. If you’re having trouble gaining eye contact, gently touch your loved one’s arm to help gain her attention.

Use Simple Words and Phrases

During the conversation, use simple words and phrases to keep the conversation as clear as you possibly can. Speak slowly and enunciate so that your loved one can make out what you’re sharing with her. Be specific, too, especially when you’re talking about people or places. Use names rather than pronouns to help avoid confusion.

Ask Simple Questions

When you need to ask questions of your loved one, make sure that you keep them simple as well. Asking closed-ended questions that can be answered with “yes” or “no” can work really well. Try to avoid giving your loved one too many choices to cut back on confusion.

Break Activities and Instructions Down

As you need to give your loved one instructions or do activities together, break them down into smaller steps. This can help you to make sure your loved one is following along with each step as you say it. You’re also able to prompt your loved one more easily if you’re not too far ahead in the instructions.

Enlist the help of your loved one’s elderly care providers when you’re having trouble communicating with your loved one. They can help you to break through the communication barrier.


If you or an aging loved one are considering elderly care in North York, contact the caring professionals at Staff Relief Health Care 24/7 at 905.709.1767.

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