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Esther Heerema, MSW

Tips for Communicating with Someone Who Has Dementia

By April 1, 2012

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Ever wonder how to approach someone who has Alzheimer's disease or another dementia? Much of the time, how we communicate is more important than what we communicate.

For example, a friend (we'll call her Mary) recently shared with me a conversation she had with her father and mother. Her mother is in the early stages of Alzheimer's disease but very much wants to be involved in decisions. Mary told me that her mother stopped her twice in their conversation to ask Mary to look at her when she was talking. Mary's mother noticed that when important things were being talked about, Mary directed all of the conversation to her father, and her mother sensed that she was being ignored because Mary never gave her any eye contact.

Those little things, which are not always easy or fully efficient, can make a difference in how Mary's mother feels about herself and how she copes with her early dementia. For more ideas on communicating with someone who has dementia, consider these 7 simple tips.

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