dementia routines: woman in scrubs sitting with an older adult drinking coffee

It can be difficult to communicate with someone who suffers from Alzheimer’s and/or dementia. The damage to their brains have altered the way they hear, process, and respond to certain conversations. This is why caregivers or family members need to learn new techniques that adapts to the older adults way of thinking.

There are 6 nonverbal dementia communication techniques that can help you communicate better with someone who has Alzheimer’s and/or dementia.

  1. Be patient and calm
    • Project a positive and calm attitude that can help the older adult communicate easily
    • Try to avoid body language that shows frustration, impatience, or anger
    • Try to not interrupt them
    • Give them your full attention
  2. communication routines: woman in scrubs sitting with an older adult drinking coffeeKeep voice, face, and body relaxed and positive
    • Try to have a pleasant or happy look on your face. A tense facial expression could cause distress and make communication more difficult
    • Keep the tone of your voice friendly and positive
  3. Be consistent and avoid confusion. Make sure your body language and facial expressions match the words you are speaking.
  4. Make eye contact and respect personal space
    • When approaching, come from the front so they are aware of your presence and have a chance to process who you are and that your are trying to interact with them
    • Don’t stand too close
    • Keep your face at eye level or below
    • Make and maintain eye contact during the whole conversation
  5. Use a gentle touch for reassurance, but make sure they are comfortable with that.
    • Shaking hands
    • Patting or holding their hand
    • Patting or rubbing their shoulder or back
    • Putting an arm around them
    • Giving them a hug
  6. Observe their nonverbal reactions
    • With the alteration of their brain, it can be difficult for older adults to express themselves verbally
    • Watch for signs of frustration, fear, or anger and try to adjust to that


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