Tools for Interacting With People Who Have Dementia

Oct 30, 2020

Dementia is a general term for a loss of memory and other thinking abilities that is serious enough to interfere with activities of daily life. It has many causes, the most common cause is Alzheimer’s disease.

A diagnosis of dementia can have a huge impact on a person’s life. Someone recently diagnosed with dementia is likely to experience a range of emotions. These may include grief, loss, anger, shock, fear, disbelief and even relief from finally understanding their diagnosis.

Living with dementia presents many challenges for patients and their families. As a family member, friend or caregiver, there are specific ways we can interact with people with dementia that can increase the quality of our interactions and decrease many common frustrations.

Interacting with People Living with Dementia

  • Slow your pace and allow time for the person to process and respond
  • Simplify sentences or choices
  • Ask one question at a time
  • Speak clearly and calmly, be patient, listen
  • Avoid arguing or embarrassing the person
  • Seek to understand the person’s reality or feelings
  • Gently redirect to another environment or subject as needed

We can all work together to spread dementia friendly practices by partnering with advocacy groups, state agencies and regulators to learn more about, follow and encourage dementia friendly practices in our communities.

People living with dementia still need the same things we all do – love, support, connection, community and engagement. It’s important to always remember that although someone with dementia may behave differently, they still deserve to live with dignity, respect and at their highest possible quality of life.

Contact Cathy Abreu, RN, BCPA at or 484-548-0201 for more information on living with and caring for people with dementia.


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