Communication Tips – People with Dementia

Communication Tips – People with Dementia

People with dementia due to conditions such as Alzheimer’s or other causes experience brain function failure that is progressive – making it ever more difficult for them to remember things, comprehend situations, communicate clearly, or care for themselves. Dementia may also cause a person to experience emotional changes that lead to a change in personality and behavior. Consequently, oftentimes communicating with a person with dementia become a challenge in itself for the people around them.

A lack of understanding and/or misconceptions about the behaviors and cognitive challenges that are occurring in a person with dementia can cause aggravation and stress for family members and caregivers. The following tips provide some guidance to help us develop a better relationship with people with dementia:

Seven Communication Tips – People with Dementia

  1. Have a positive attitude when interacting. Your attitude and body language in more powerful than words in communicating something. By having a positive attitude when communicating with a person with dementia, you will be able to speak in a pleasant and respectful manner. Use a soothing tone, a kind facial expression, and physical touch to help deliver your message in a caring way.
  2. Gain their attention when communicating. Work on getting the attention of the person with dementia, and engage in communication in an area that is free from too much noise and distractions. For example, turn off the TV, close the door, or move to a quieter area. Ensure that you have their attention before speaking. Identify yourself by reminding them of your name and your relationship to them, and use sign language and touch to help them maintain their focus. If they are in a sitting position, lower yourself to their eye level and maintain eye contact with them.
  3. State your message clearly. When communicating with a person with dementia, use simple words and sentences. Speak slowly, clearly, and with a confident voice. It is not necessary to raise your voice or speak loudly; instead a lower toned voice can be hear better. Use the same words when repeating yourself if you are not understood the first time. Always use specific words to identify things, people or places and not replacing them with general substitute terms (for example: that, him, there) or abbreviations.
  4. Pose simple questions that can be answered easily. Ask one question at a time; in some cases their being able to receive a yes or no answer is already good enough. If the person has more limited communication abilities, refrain from asking open ended questions or ones with too many options.
  5. Listen with your heart. Be patient when waiting for their answer to a question. Help them to find the right word as needed, but also pay attention to any non-verbal cues or body language they may be communicating.
  6. When things become difficult, try distraction. It’s important to remember that a relationship with a person with dementia needs to be done at an emotional level. So, distraction must be done in a calm manner in order to establish an emotional connection as a way to redirect their attention away from whatever emotional state they may be in.
  7. Respond with affection and assurance. People with dementia are often confused, anxious, and unsure of themselves. In some cases, they may have hallucinations or delusions that further distort their perception of reality. When this occurs, refrain from correcting them; instead validate their feelings and perceptions in order to assure them that you are there to help. By communicating calmly and reassuringly, establish an emotional connection while shifting the conversation and attention toward a more positive mood.

By understanding these few tips for communicating, we all can interact better and longer with people with dementia. The staff at RUKUN Senior Care serve seniors with dementia every day and continuously practice these methods to optimize their interactions with residents. Several studies have proven the importance of social interaction for people with dementia, with anywhere from an increase in mood and cheerfulness, to the reduction of agitation and aggressive behavior. Doing so allows eveyone to provide the best care for people with dementia.


RUKUN Senior Care
Phone: 021 8795 1525

About RUKUN Senior Living

We believe that happiness and comfort are the keys to a person’s quality of life. So, RUKUN Senior Living has offered a range of residential facilities and services for seniors to support all their needs – from seniors with an independent and dynamic lifestyle to those who need assistance with daily activities. 

The range of service options available provide flexibility to adjust to a senior’s needs. For seniors who prefer to live on their own or with family members, there is: 

  • RUKUN Senior Club
    for independent seniors to participate in a full day schedule of activities. 
  • Dementia Day Program
    for senior with dementia to participate in a series of activities and interactions designed to optimize their day. Available at Darmawan Park, Sentul dan Dementia Support Center, Cipete.
  • RUKUN Home Care for seniors who need profesional caregiving in the home (Service the JaBoDeTaBek area).

Those interested in residing at RUKUN Senior Living, Sentul, can enjoy a Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC) offering a range of residential options and integrated services as a solution for each phase of a senior’s life:

  • The Villas offering the option of ownership of a private, modern, and functional villa for seniors with a dynamic and independent lifestyle. Live worry-free with the complete range of available optional facilities and services.
  • RUKUN Senior Living Resort
    with complete facilities and a range of supporting services including Activity, wellness monitoring, food and beverage, housekeeping dan
    laundry, and Assisted Living services. The complete facilities include:
    Activity Room, Game Room, Art Room, Swimming Pool, Jacuzzi, Fishing Lake, Jogging Path, and Gazebos.
  • RUKUN Senior Care
    offering an intimate facility and services for seniors needing Dementia Support and Nursing Care. Includes activity program, 24-hour wellness staff and doctor on staff.
Phone: 021 8795 1525

Communication Tips – People with Dementia

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