Dec 18, 2016

Connecting with a Person Living with Dementia

Do you ever feel disconnected or detached from a person living with Alzheimer's and dementia? What do we do in order to understand, cope, and communicate with a person living with Alzheimer's or a related dementia?

Connecting with a Person Living with Dementia
By Bob DeMarco
Alzheimer's Reading Room

It is very easy to feel disconnected from a person living with dementia. Let's face it, the person living with dementia changes while we remain the same.

Our tendencies is to continue communicating with them in the same way we always have. This usually worked well in the past. Now, all of a sudden it is not working.

Topic - How to Convince an Alzheimer's Patient They Need Help?

For example, we are in the habit of trying to explain to a person why they should do something when they won't cooperate with us. We usually site the benefits of cooperation. All of this seems very logical to us.

But, what happens when a person living with dementia is no longer capable of understanding our long winded explanations?

What do we do?

What I am describing is a cycle of communication and coping that is very common in Alzheimer's caregivers - to many words and to much explanation.

Communication that leads to frustration and a real sense of hopelessness.

We find that we can't get the person to do what we want, and we can't get them to listen.

What is the role of listening in dementia care?

First and foremost, we should not expect a person living with dementia to be able to concentrate, listen, and understand lots and lots of words. They are no longer capable of listening in this way.

Think of it this way. One of assessment test for Alzheimer's is a simple three part test that requires a person to remember three words and draw a clock. It is called the Mini-Cog. If they are suffering from cognitive impairment and memory loss they won't be able to remember the three words. In addition, they might not be able to draw the clock.

Please think about this.

If they can't remember three words after a short period of time when in an early stage of Alzheimer's or dementia, how are they going to understand your long winded explanation and lectures?

They won't.

So what do we do in order to understand, cope, and communicate with a person living with Alzheimer's or a related dementia?

If you want to learn more about how to understand, cope and communicate with a person living with Alzheimer's or a related dementia,  please take the time to review these custom searches of our articles, and read them.

Topic - Deeply Forgetful

Topic - Connect Alzheimer's Dementia

Topic - Listening to a Person with Alzheimer's

Topic - Coping with Dementia

Topic - Understanding Alzheimer's and Dementia

Learning to communicate in a new and more effective way with a person living with dementia is a process. We learn how to listen, guide, and eventually learn how to connect or better yet,


Once you reconnect the ability to get the person living with dementia to cooperate gets easier and easier.

It is not like you have to learn an entire new set of skills in order to be able to communicate. Instead, what you need to do is refine your methods and tailor your style of communication to fit the changing brain of a person who is

Deeply Forgetful

but still the person you always knew.

The Best Way to Find Solutions to the Problems that Caregivers Face Each Day

Related Articles

What is the Difference Between Alzheimer’s and Dementia

Test Your Memory for Alzheimer's (5 Best Tests)

10 Things a Person Living with Dementia Would Tell You If They Could

The Seven Stages of Alzheimer's

Bob DeMarco is the Founder of the Alzheimer's Reading Room (ARR).  Bob lives in Delray Beach, FL.
The Alzheimer's Reading Room

Ranked #1 by Healthline in the Best Alzheimer's Blogs - 2017

"The Alzheimer’s Reading Room is what it claims to be – and more. 
This comprehensive site is run by full-time caregiver and gifted advocate Bob DeMarco. 
Filled with wonderful contributions from a variety of talented writers, this site offers everything you need to know about the challenge of caregiving, learning about your loved one’s condition, and taking care of yourself as well. 
Thanks to the tireless efforts of everyone at the Alzheimer’s Reading Room, you have a go-to place for advice, education, and an occasional laugh. Stop by, and start feeling empowered to handle life as a caregiver."