The website www.alzheimersreadingroom.com has come up with ten top tips for communicating with a person with dementia. They are well worth a read.
- You know what makes me feel safe, secure, and happy? A smile.
- Did you ever conside this? When you get tense and uptight it makes me feel tense and uptight.
- Instead of getting all bent out of shape when I do something that seems perfectly normal to me, and perfectly nutty to you, why not just smile at me? It will take the edge off the situation all the way around.
- Please try to understand and remember it is my short term memory, my right now memory, that is gone — don’t talk so fast, or use so many words.
- You know what I am going to say if you go off into long winded explanations on why we should do something? I am going to say No, because I can never be certain if you are asking me to do something I like, or drink a bottle of castor oil. So I’ll just say No to be safe.
- Slow down. And don’t sneak up on me and start talking. Did I tell you I like smiles?
- Make sure you have my attention before you start blabbering away. What is going to happen if you start blabbering away and you don’t have my attention, or confuse me? I am going to say No – count on it.
- My attention span and ability to pay attention are not as good as they once were, please make eye contact with me before you start talking. A nice smile always gets my attention. Did I mention that before?
- Sometimes you talk to me like I am a child or an idiot. How would you like it if I did that to you? Go to your room and think about this. Don’t come back and tell me you are sorry, I won’t know what you are talking about. Just stop doing it and we will get along very well, and probably better than you think.
- You talk too much — instead try taking my hand and leading the way. I need a guide not a person to nag me all the time.