// Tips for Communication

General Guidelines

  1. When talking with a person who has Alzheimer’s disease it is important to remember to follow “The 3 Cs”:
    • Stay Calm
    • Stay Consistent – repeat the information to the person the same way each time.
    • Be Concise – try to talk in short sentences, longer ones may cause the person to feel more confused.
  2. A smile means more than words. When you are trying to ask the person with Alzheimer’s to do something, use a smile.
  3. Try to redirect the discussion to another topic, Try not to argue with the person or trying to explain things in more detail, which can often make the person feel more confused
  4. Create a routine. This means trying to arrange for something special for the person to do each day (ie: attending a program, taking a class, meeting with friends, going to the movies, etc)
  5. Turn negatives into positives: (ie Try not to say, “don’t do that….”, instead try “lets try to do that another way….”) No one wants to be told they are doing something wrong.
  6. Turn long explanations into short ones- Shorter sentences are easier for people to understand and possibly remember.
  7. Give the person one or two choices at a time: (ie. “Would you like chicken or fish for dinner?”)
  8. Use statements more often than questions: Try not to ask “Do you want to take a bath?”, instead try saying “Lets take a bath” it is more directive, and if done with a smile it can be more helpful.

Repetitive Questions?

Here is a technique to deal with repetitive questions:

  1. The person asks you a question (ie: What day is it?)
  2. You answer it
  3. The person asks you the same question again
  4. You answer it, and then ask them to repeat the answer
  5. When they asks the question again
  6. You answer it, and then ask them to repeat the answer
  7. If they asks the question again
  8. Ask them what you said the answer was, and they should be able to give you the answer. If not, try to redirect the person to another topic or activity.

Follow the Five R’s

  • Reassure them, help them to feel calm and in control
  • Reorient. Help the person feel they are safe by telling them where they are and what they are doing.
  • Repeat. You will need to tell the person the information a number of times during the day. Stay calm.
  • Redirect. After answering their concerns, try to change the topic of the conversation if they are repeating themselves.
  • Respect. Everyone is entitled to be treated with kindness and honor for who they are and who they have been in their life.