The Breckinridge: An Alzheimer's Residence

What Is Alzheimer's

Communication Techniques

A person with Alzheimer's may have a hard time understanding people or what is going on around them. Here are some communication techniques to consider:

  • Approach the patient from the front
  • Keep confusion, distraction, noise to a minimum
  • Begin each conversation by identifying yourself and addressing the patient by name
  • Speak slowly and distinctly
  • Pay attention to the tone of your voice
  • Use familiar words
  • Explain your actions
  • Ask one question at a time
  • Repeat questions or information using the same phrasing
  • Talk in positive terms
  • Avoid expressions that patient may take literally
  • Demonstrate your request
  • Use names when referring to other individuals instead of he or she.
  • Treat the person with dignity and respect
  • Use smiles and hugs

Some tips for non-verbal communications:

  • Touching is understood better then words
  • Move slowly and be gentle. Be careful not to startle.
  • Stand or crouch face-to-face.
  • Maintain eye contact
  • Observe facial expressions to note feelings
  • Use facial expressions or hand gestures to demonstrate concern or how to do something.
  • Assume the patients can understand more than they can express. Never talk about the patient in front of him or her.
  • Move your body with the patient. Avoid pulling on patients.

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