How dementia affects communication

February 8, 2021
September 7, 2022

Read a transcript of this video:

Dementia can dramatically affect how people communicate, which means you need to be attuned to the difficulties the person you care for may have when trying to get their point across.

There are two aspects of communication: expressive and receptive.

Difficulties with expressive communication mean it can be a struggle to find the right words. People with dementia can also find it hard to say what they want in a socially appropriate way, or to let the other person have a turn speaking. They might also find expressing themselves through writing difficult.

Dementia also affects receptive communication, making it hard to understand what is being said, or to follow instructions or plot lines. It can also make it difficult to concentrate on reading.

When a person with dementia has difficulties with either expressing or understanding, you might observe that they ask the same question or give the same piece of information a number of times. They might also have difficulty in starting a conversation and keeping focused on it – and might drift away from the subject or forget what they were talking about.

This can be frustrating for you as well as for the person you care for. Being unable to communicate effectively can be stressful and exhausting, and it can sometimes make people feel upset, angry or lonely.

At Dementia Carers Count we have courses and resources specifically designed to address the everyday problems you may encounter when caring for someone with dementia, including tips on how to help them communicate effectively.

How dementia affects communication
It is important to understand how dementia can have an impact on expressive and receptive communication
The brain