top of page
  • debbiebridgen

Shining a Light: Murray Hall's Commitment to Dementia Awareness

Do’s and Don’ts of communicating with people with dementia

You can’t control memory loss – only your reaction to it.

For people with dementia, their memory loss is their main concern. Asking them to remember is like asking a blind person to see. (Common questions like “Did you take your pills?” or “What did you do today?” are the equivalent of asking them to remember something.) A loss of this magnitude reduces the capacity to reason. Expecting them to be reasonable or to accept your conclusion is unrealistic. Don’t correct, contradict, blame or insist. Reminders are rarely kind. They tell a person how disabled they are – over and over again.

People living with dementia say and do normal things for someone with memory impairment. If they were deliberately trying to exasperate you, they would have a different diagnosis. Forgive them…always. For example, your wife isn’t purposely hiding your favourite pair of shoes. She thinks she’s protecting them by putting them in a safe place…and then forgets.

Here are some basic Do’s when it comes to communication with someone with dementia:

  • Give short, one sentence explanations.

  • Allow plenty of time for comprehension, and then triple it.

  • Repeat instructions or sentences exactly the same way.

  • Avoid insistence. Try again later.

  • Agree with them or distract them to a different subject or activity.

  • Accept the blame when something’s wrong (even if it’s fantasy).

  • Leave the room, if necessary, to avoid confrontations.

  • Respond to the feelings rather than the words.

  • Be patient and cheerful and reassuring. Do go with the flow.

  • Practice 100% forgiveness. Memory loss progresses daily.

Here are some Don’ts:

  • Don’t reason.

  • Don’t argue.

  • Don’t confront.

  • Don’t remind them they forget.

  • Don’t question recent memory.

  • Don’t take it personally.

Tel :- 01902 826 655


bottom of page