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BLOG | 5 tips to help people with dementia to communicate

We introduced the subject of communication in dementia with the post entitled How do I communicate with a person with dementia? On this occasion we will address how to offer our support to this group and we will give you 5 tips to help people with dementia to express themselves.

In all the processes of cognitive deterioration we observe that, among other symptoms, people lose their communication skills. They have difficulties finding the right words, they lose their vocabulary and coherence in speech, among other manifestations.

Caregivers must understand that it is necessary to adapt certain behaviours and approach patients in a certain way depending on the stage of dementia, in order to keep the person with Alzheimer's socially active. One of the best ways to do this is by helping them communicate when they encounter difficulties.

1. As we have announced, people with dementia lose their vocabulary and have a hard time finding words. If possible, we should ask them to point out the things whose name they do not remember and name them out loud ourselves.

2. As they lose consistency in their statements, we must ensure that we fully understand what they meant. It is advisable to ask to confirm that we have understood.

3. It is key to measure well how we offer help. There is no need to systematically correct them when they use one word for another or make a mistake.

4. They are likely to get lost in the middle of a sentence and stop. We must give them enough time to finish it and, if we want to help, we can repeat the last three words to keep them going. If they don't pick up the thread again, let's change the subject.

5. If they use phrases or words out of context, let's try to capture their thinking based on the situation at the time.

As we know, Alzheimer's and dementias are degenerative. This will mean that, as the disease progresses, we will have to adapt the degree of help we offer depending on the stage in which the person with Alzheimer's is.

However, and despite how difficult it may be, it is advisable not to overprotect them and move forward to doing things for that person if they still have the capacity. Let us not lose sight of the fact that one of the most important goals in treatment is the preservation of their autonomy for as long as possible.

Ace Alzheimer Center Barcelona
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