Communicating and language
Dementia can make it hard for people to communicate, and this can be upsetting and frustrating for them and those around them. However, there are many ways to help you support and communicate with each other.
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We all need to communicate with other people. We need to tell other people a wide range of things, including our needs, wishes and feelings. How well we can communicate will affect our quality of life, as well as how much we are able to keep our individuality and sense of identity.
These pages gives tips and advice for communicating with someone with dementia, and supporting them to communicate in whichever way works best for them.
A person with dementia may have trouble finding the right word, they may repeat words and phrases, or may become 'stuck' on certain sounds.
In addition, people with dementia are likely to have other sensory impairments (such as sight or hearing problems) which can also make it harder to communicate. If someone is not able to express themselves properly, they can lose confidence, or feel anxious, depressed or withdrawn. They may also behave in ways others find odd, because they are trying to communicate what they can no longer say with words.
'This is me' document can help communicate with healthcare professionals
If a person with dementia is living in a hospital or care setting, any problems they have communicating can affect the care and support they receive.
Alzheimer's Society produces a document called 'This is me' which can give information about a person, including how they like to communicate, any difficulties they have, and how care and support staff can best help them to communicate.
Get a copy of This is Me
This is Me is a form where you can record details about the person with dementia, to communicate them to healthcare professionals and others.
Last reviewed: July 2012
Next review due: July 2015
Reviewed by: Colin Barnes, Principal Speech and Language Therapist, Speech and Language Therapy Dept, St James Hospital, Portsmouth and Dr Claire Surr, Senior Lecturer and Head of Education Programmes, Division of Dementia Studies, University of Bradford, Bradford
This information has also been reviewed by people affected by dementia. A list of sources is available on request from [email protected]