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.


  • 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   


  • 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