Navigating Conversations with Someone Who Has Dementia

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Engaging in conversation with a loved one experiencing dementia or Alzheimer’s Disease can present new and unfamiliar challenges. Whether you are visiting in-person, talking on the phone, or video chatting, staying connected and communicating clearly is an important aspect of your relationship. 

Stick to topics that create a calm and comfortable atmosphere in order to achieve a positive, low-stress interaction. Sometimes it may help to start with a story from your own life and then spin it around to ask your loved one if they can relate or remember a time when they experienced something similar. 

Consider utilizing the following topics to inspire your next conversation:

  • Children/childhood
  • Cooking/recipes
  • Exercise/physical health
  • Hobbies (past or present)
  • Relationships/friends
  • Shared family memories
  • Travel/vacation
  • Work/career

When talking to your loved one with dementia or Alzheimer’s Disease, try to keep your questions and expectations simple. If you sense your loved one is getting anxious, switch to another topic or distract them with a hands-on task. People experiencing memory issues may occasionally fabricate information when they can’t remember something; try not to correct them or pressure them to remember. 

The goal of these conversations is to build your relationship, not push a personal agenda. Encourage your loved one to speak their mind, even if that means they repeat themselves. If conversation is not what they need, remember that it’s okay to just sit quietly and enjoy each other’s company. 

Willow River is Here to Help

If you are ready to speak to a professional, Willow River can help answer your questions and provide the resources you’re looking for. Call Willow River Senior Living at 888-546-1886 to start the conversation today.

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