Communicating with Those Who Have Memory Loss

If a family member or someone else you are providing care for is suffering from memory loss, dementia, or Alzheimer’s disease, it can be extremely difficult for you as well as them. Watching them change from the person you know and even forgetting who you are is an upsetting experience, but it is important that you continue to support them and remain patient with them through this difficult time.

Read on for more tips and advice on how to communicate with people who have memory loss.

Avoid complicated conversations

If you quickly change the topic of conversation, talk too fast, use complicated language, or include a lot of new information and facts in conversation with someone who suffers from memory loss, it can be extremely overwhelming and confusing. Try to keep conversations with them simple and stick to one topic at a time so that it is easier for them to follow. Eliminating background noise can help with this too as this reduces the number of distractions. You should also try to be as clear in your meanings as possible, for example, always using a person’s name when talking about them rather than saying ‘he’ or ‘she’.

Don’t try to fill silences

Sometimes, when you ask a question or are having a back and forth conversation with someone who has memory loss, they may take longer to process what you have said and formulate their thoughts into a response. If they are silent for a while after you ask the question, don’t try to rush them or fill the silence with more questions. Give them time to respond and express themselves if they want to.

Don’t argue or correct

A person with memory loss won’t always have facts or details of a story straight in their head. Your instinct will probably be to correct them in these cases, but this can make the situation much worse and frustrating for both of you. Arguing with them is a lose-lose situation because the reality they are experiencing is just as real to them as yours is to you. Instead, you should try to acknowledge the feelings that come with what they’re saying and reassure them before changing the topic of conversation or distracting them with something else.

Remember that your own self-care is just as important as the care you provide for your loved one, so remember to take time to look after yourself as well and ask for help when you need it. If you need support with caring for a loved one in Clemmons, then get in touch to find out how we can help.