We share some ideas to help a person with dementia to continue expressing themselves.
Communication is about more than getting a piece of information across to another person. Being able to express ourselves and share things with each other is important to our sense of identity and how connected we feel.
It may become more challenging as dementia progresses, but ensuring there are opportunities for conversation, wherever possible, can make a big difference.
Photographs or a life story book could provide things to talk about, as could a This is me tool with the person’s background and preferences filled in.
Collections of interesting objects can be good prompts – for example, if someone likes plants and flowers, lay out a selection to see if they can identify them or say which their favourites are. Or they might enjoy looking through a newspaper or magazine together.
If a person finds it difficult to communicate their needs fully, they may still notice facial expressions, tone of voice and body language, so speak as you normally would. Some people find speech physically difficult, others struggle to find the right word, and others have different problems. Give them the time they need to understand what’s been said and to express themselves.