Communicating with patients who have any form of dementia

Compassionate communication will significantly heighten quality of life for all involved.  You can't control memory loss, only your reaction to it.

DONT'S

  • Don't reason
  • Don't argue
  • Don't confront
  • Don't remind them they forget
  • Don't question recent memory
  • Don't take it personally   

DO'S  

  • Give short, one sentence explanations
  • Allow plenty of time for comprehension, then triple it
  • Repeat instructions or sentences exactly the same way
  • Eliminate "but" from your vocabulary, substitute "nevertheless"
  • Avoid insistence. Try again later
  • Agree with them or distract them to another subject or activity
  • Accept the blame when something is wrong
  • Leave the room, if necessary, to avoid confrontations
  • Respond to the feelings rather than the words
  • Be patient and cheerful and reassuring
  • Go with the flow
  • Elevate your level of graciousness and generosity
  • Practice 100% forgiveness. Memory loss progresses daily