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My name is Tess Whitty, and I have loved working as an English-Swedish freelance translator since 2002. Understanding how to connect and communicate with our loved ones through this time is of the utmost importance. Here are 10 tips on how to effectively communicate with someone who has moderate to severe dementia.
Do you have advice for us about communicating with someone who has Alzheimer’s or dementia?
About the AuthorJeff Anderson attended the University of Alaska Fairbanks on an academic scholarship and also studied creative writing at University of Hull's Scarborough Campus (UK).
It really does seem to help, she brightens up and can tell you the stories behind the photos, even when she’s really tired it still seems to be nice to look at. We are so glad to hear that our forum has been helpful to you during such a difficult time for you and your family. Thankyou its a bit of a shock at this stage and I guess Im feeling incredible sadness and disbelief that is happening.
We are so sorry to hear about how dementia is impacting you and your family during this time. My family has been going through a similar situation with my grandmother with dementia, who does not understand what she is doing or saying due to the disease. Unfortunately, as the disease progresses, it is going to be very difficult to help loved ones understand what they are doing. My husband’s PPA has caused some problems with our friends due to his inappropriate words and behavior.
My dad later became aphasic, so I tried to word things so he wouldn’t have to try a whole long sentence in response. Mary, you might want to call A Place for Mom and they can point you in the right direction. My sister has demintia she had to go into hospital because of her behavior, the care home could not cope with her. She did not want to bath, she swore she changed her clothes even though we knew she hadn’t.
The last thing I wanted to do was to disrespect my Mom or accuse her of being untruthful, so I would go along with her explanation just to avoid an argument.


I finally had to decide that I knew what was in her best interest, I would have to insist on it, I hoped she wouldn’t get angry, but when she did I hoped she would get over it soon. She is now in a nursing home, is cognizant on some days and on others she tells me of all her sisters and brothers who have come to visit in the past few days.
When I first started out, I was focusing solely on the actual translation part, on doing my job. I love sharing my passion for the profession, and my experience from being a freelancer and a marketing professional with other translators, through presentations and trainings. Just as the right tools and a lot of technique is required to shuck an oyster, there is technique and artistry involved with communicating or connecting emotionally with a loved one who has dementia. Someone with dementia may not be able to engage in the mental juggling involved in maintaining a conversation with multiple threads.
Your conversations are not likely to go very far if you try to correct every inaccurate statement your loved one makes.
While the general trend of dementia sufferers is a downward decline, people with dementia will have ups and downs just like anyone else. Jeff found his professional calling in 2009 when he began working with seniors and their families at A Place for Mom. That seems like a very difficult situation, and although there is no easy answer, it sounds like you are going to have to do what feels best for you and your family.
Rather, it will be easier to cope with the changes ourselves and explain them to others, in order to continue communicating or connecting emotionally with our loved ones. That is such a beautiful thing that you do for your mother, and I know this suggestion will be so beneficial to others. We tried to explain that she had no dirty clothes in the laundry, to which she would say that she got up at 4:00 AM and hand washed them. I eventually realized that while I was being respectful, I was also allowing her to make unhealthy decisions, and ignoring them just as not to argue.
Producing high quality translations is of course the cornerstone of our business, but if we pay attention to the following communication tips, we can create more profitable relationships with our clients and colleagues. People with dementia will gradually have a more difficult time understanding others, as well as communicating in general.
His passion for helping seniors and his fondness for the written word are evident in his articles about issues affecting older adults and their families.


My family had a similar experience and chose to tell my grandmother what she was going through, but unfortunately, due to her dementia, she didn’t remember, and when reminded, had to go through the stages of acceptance and grief all over again.
I look forward to sharing it with my family when we take my grandmother with dementia out for lunch or dinner.
It is not only how we communicate in emails or on the phone, but everything we post online matters. And when dementia is very advanced, nonverbal communication may be the only option available.
Eventually, we decided it was best just to redirect her when she asked questions, because it wasn’t worth having her feel those extreme emotions again each and every day. Those that see her on a daily basis in her environment can be fooled, as she will appear normal.
I have heard many agencies and direct clients say that before they hire someone, they google them, and check out their presence on social media, and only use translators that give a positive impression online.
Picking up on some topics below, there’s absolutely nothing to be gained by telling a loved one they have dementia, unless they want to talk about it. In the early stages, they knew there was something wrong before you did, and tried to hide it from you.
Find solitude in the 90% that you did right for your Mom, and don’t look back on the 10% that you feel you could have done better. Symptoms of poor communication Being unsure what the client really wants Not keeping records of your interactions with the client, or keeping poor records Client seems to have an uneven attitude towards you If you agree with any of the points above, your communication with the client could be improved. How to improve communications with clients Determine the client’s communication style (email, phone, face-to-face). Much of the time, of course, they think nothing is wrong with them and they can do everything they’ve ever done.
Unless they are going to do something that harms them, why would you want to hurt them by telling them they can’t? I think, as carer of a person living with dementia, my prime objective is to ensure my mum has a coherent sense of self, and a sound sense of personhood.



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10 tips for communication in the workplace



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