Keep distractions and noise down:
- Turn off the radio or TV.
- Close the curtains.
- Move to a quieter room.
To avoid surprising the person, try to make eye contact before touching or speaking to them.
Use simple words and sentences, and speak slowly. Speak in a quiet voice. Talking loudly, as if the person is hard of hearing, will not help. Repeat your words, if needed. Use names and places the person knows. Try not to use pronouns, such as "he," "she," and "them." This can confuse someone with dementia. Tell them when you are going to change the subject.
Talk to people who have dementia as adults. Do not make them feel as if they are children. Do not pretend to understand them if you do not.
Ask questions so they can answer with "yes" or "no." Give the person clear choices, and a visual cue, such as pointing to something, if possible. Do not give them too many options.
When giving instructions:
- Break directions down into small and simple steps.
- Allow time for the person to understand.
- If they get frustrated, consider switching to another activity.
Try to get them talking about something they enjoy. Many people with dementia like to talk about the past, and many can remember the distant past better than recent events. Even if they remember something wrong, do not insist on correcting them.