Tips for Talking to a Parent With Dementia

Talking to a parent with Alzheimer’s can be a daily struggle. Here are some tips for talking to a parent with dementia as their memory and judgment deteriorates.

For someone with Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia, a human connection is vital their well-being. However, the mental changes that often accompany Alzheimer’s can make communication difficult.  

Help your aging loved one feel respected, valued, and supported with these tips for communicating with a senior suffering from Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia:

  • People with dementia often have trouble communicating with more than one person at a time. The more people who are involved in a discussion, the more complicated it becomes. Try to keep talks with Alzheimer’s patients one-on-one to keep communication easier.
  • Don't argue with someone who has dementia. You’ll both become more agitated and communication will be unsuccessful. Over time, you’ll figure out when to walk away before a simple conversation turns into an argument.  
  • When speaking to someone with Alzheimer's or dementia, give them your full attention. Be sure to look him or her in the eye when speaking. Keep conversations short and to the point.
  • Stay patient when talking to someone with Alzheimer's. Resist the temptation to complete their sentences—it's likely to be more frustrating than helpful. Instead, ask a question that might jog their memory.
  • Being given too many choices can be confusing for someone with Alzheimer's or dementia. Don’t ask open-ended questions or questions without a clear answer.
  • Although your loved one might not be able to communicate verbally, they may be communicating through body language.  Pay close attention to facial expressions and body positioning to help you communicate easier with a loved one.

Communication is vital for someone with Alzheimer’s. By using these tips for talking to a parent with dementia, you may be able to communicate easier with your loved one.