- Identify yourself.
Approach the person from the front and say who you are. Keep good eye contact; if the person is seated or reclined, go down to that level.
- Call the person by name.
It helps orient the person and gets his or her attention.
- Use short, simple words and sentences.
Lengthy requests or stories can be overwhelming. Ask one question at a time.
- Speak slowly and distinctively.
Be aware of speed and clarity. Use a gentle and relaxed tone — a lower pitch is more calming.
- Patiently wait for a response.
The person may need extra time to process what you said.
- Repeat information or questions as needed.
If the person doesn't respond, wait a moment. Then ask again.
- Turn questions into answers.
Provide the solution rather than the question. For example, say "The bathroom is right here," instead of asking, "Do you need to use the bathroom?"
- Avoid confusing and vague statements.
If you tell the person to "Hop in!" he or she may interpret your instructions literally. Instead, describe the action directly: "Please come here. Your shower is ready." Instead of using "it" or "that," name the object or place. For example rather than "Here it is" say "Here is your hat."
- Turn negatives into positives.
Instead of saying, "Don't go there," say, "Let's go here."
- Give visual cues.
To help demonstrate the task, point or touch the item you want the individual to use or begin the task for the person.
- Avoid quizzing.
Reminiscing may be healthy, but avoid asking, "Do you remember when ... ?"
- Write things down.
Try using written notes as reminders if the person is able to understand them.
- Treat the person with dignity and respect.
Avoid talking down to the person or talking as if he or she isn't there.
- Convey an easygoing manner.
Be aware of your feelings and attitude — you may be communicating through your tone of voice. Use positive, friendly facial expressions and nonverbal communication.
Communication and Alzheimer's | Caregiver Center | Alzheimer's Association: