Alzheimer’s/Dementia: Communication Stategies

I recently attended a seminar entitled “Communication Strategies for your loved one with Dementia/Alzheimer’s.  

The strategies were divided into “Verbal” and “Nonverbal” communications.  There were some ideas we’d like to share. 


  • Use familiar words.  Newer slang and computer terms are very difficult to relate to.  Explain what you are trying to convey.
  • Talk slowly
  • Limit the number of conversation partners.  Everyone speaking at the same time is very difficult to follow.  One speaker at a time, same topic.
  • Don’t have conversation with someone on the other side of the room. 
  • Use simple, direct statements
  • Be concrete.  Certain topics need special care; medical, financial, family matters should be thought through prior to presenting.
  • Avoid arguing.  You may have issue with something that happened right now, they may be thinking of something 50 years ago.
  • Provide additional information.  Be prepared to respond to questions, with solid, factual answers.
  • Present material matter-of-factly”.  If you are stating your opinion, it is better to begin, “this is my opinion”.

Material was presented by Sandy Christos, M.S., CCC-SLP, Clinical Specialist, Master Clinitian-Dementia.

If you have questions or comments, contact Rick Messemer,