How To Talk To A Parent With Dementia

When a person is diagnosed with Dementia, it places a strain on their children’s shoulders as they try to find out what’s going on and some of the limitations both parents and children will be facing in the future.

It is a challenging time for both as it becomes challenging to talk to a parent with Dementia, and it will become more challenging over time. 

However, for as long as possible, there are things you should do to keep the bond with your loved one as healthy as possible. At the root of this is finding ways to keep the relationships going in respectful and caring ways.

Ways to Help a Parent with Dementia By Home Care Assistance

How To Talk To Someone With Dementia

Communicating with someone having Dementia is a tough job. It is because, along with memory loss, one of the main signs of Dementia is the problem in expressing ideas (such as word-finding problems) or identifying them (often called receptive communication). When talking with someone who is dealing with Dementia, here are a few suggestions for success. 

Also Read: Best Clocks for Dementia Patients

Don’t Infantilize the Person

Have you ever heard how people speak to children? They could use a high pitched sound and get close to the infant’s face. Although this is suitable for children, it is not appropriate for adults.

Please treat them with honor and use a respectful tone of voice, regardless of how much the person with Dementia can or can not comprehend.

Also Read: How Long Do People Live With Dementia?

Don’t Talk Too Loudly

Not every Dementia patient has a hearing problem, and it may sound like you’re shouting at them by using a loud tone. So, use a natural, soft style to start a conversation with them.

If the person has some hearing problem, only then you can increase your volume. Speaking in a lower tone instead of talking in a high volume can also help if someone has a hearing problem. 

Don’t Ignore the Person

If you have a question, ask the person and allow him to reply before turning to their family for a response. Also, do not talk about the person as if he’s not there. They may know more than you give them credit for, so show your appreciation by directly addressing them. 

How To Talk To Parents With Dementia

Depending on the dementia stage your parent is in, they can have difficulty with language, such as finding the right words, continually using a common phrase, or arranging words logically. 

They can often forget what they are trying to say, go back to a native language, or skip words in favor of gestures, and at that time, it becomes challenging to talk to a parent with Dementia.

Here are some basic dementia techniques for communicating with your parents: 

Time Your Visit or Call Accordingly 

Visit at a time when you realize that they are usually best able to communicate. For example, in the late afternoon and early evening, some individuals with Dementia experience “Sundowning Syndrome” and become confused and nervous. For a conversation, this might not be the best time. 

Listen to Them and Don’t Argue 

Let your parents share their feelings and thoughts; don’t annoy them. Join them on any subject they like and listen to whatever they are saying. If they say they’ve just spoken to Aunt Marry, who you know died 20 years ago, don’t try to prove to them that this can’t be done. Just go for it.

Don’t Ask Open-ended Questions 

Try to make a concrete suggestion instead of asking them an open-ended question. For instance, instead of asking, “What do you feel like doing tonight?” Ask them, “Would you like to go on a walk?”. 

Try Memorabilia

Remind them of old trips, adventures, people, and places they liked, bring pictures, or sing their favorite songs. If they have no memory of past events or get irritated or frustrated when you bring them up, turn gears and talk about something else. Always have a list of things to talk to them in this case. 

Use The Sense of Touch 

Only taking Dad’s or Mom’s hand can often have a more significant impact than words. Don’t think about holding their hand and making eye contact. It’s going to have a relaxing and calming effect on you both. 

How To Care For Parents With Dementia At Home 

Have you ever heard about baby-proof? Caring for those with Dementia requires removing possible hazards in the same way you need to eliminate dangers and enforce exceptional safety for small kids. 

To ensure the security of loved ones living with Dementia, you can implement a few simple ways to take care of them at your home. 

Minimize Clutter to Reduce Confusion 

When faced with disorganized rooms, such as messy countertops or bookshelves filled with knick-knacks, people with Dementia are often overwhelmed.

Try to keep counters, tables, floors, and other surfaces free from clutter to avoid disorienting them or adding to feelings of stress and anxiety. It can decrease agitation and help calm your loved ones, making them less likely to roam around, injure themselves, or get into trouble.

Block Off Certain Areas in Your Home 

By identifying in advance which areas of your home are off-limits, you build peace of mind for yourself and increase the possibility of your parent’s wellbeing. Before your loved one harms themselves, you must do this. Stay safe by blocking or locking doors to the pool, backyard, garage, home office, or any other area where your parents might put themselves at risk. 

Lock Up Their Medications 

Many Dementia patients are not immediately unable to self-medicate. They may become less able to recall as time goes by whether they have already taken those medicines, which may lead to overdosing and other side effects that can be fatal. It would be best to have a proper plan for managing your parent’s medication to save them from such incidents. 

How To Support A Parent With Dementia?

When a parent with Dementia refuses help, children find it challenging to deal with them. But all they need is their child’s care and support. 

Here are some of the things you can do to support your parents dealing with Dementia.

Try to Understand How They Feel

See yourself in your parent’s place. In general, it is tough to accept aging, but particularly the fact that mental abilities are declining. It will give you an enhanced understanding of how to handle the discussion about the treatment they will need if you understand how your parents feel at this time of life. 

Ask Questions

Ask open-ended, non-threatening questions about the type of support that is needed. You could ask, for instance, ‘Mom, wouldn’t it be nice if you didn’t have to do the laundry anymore? Or you might ask your dad, “Dad, don’t you miss being able to go with your friends for lunch?” The answers will give you an idea to explore how your support and care will make their life easier.  

What To Do If You Think Your Parent Has Dementia

Early dementia signs may be ambiguous and differ between individuals. Although specific individuals pick up on changes in their thoughts or behavior triggered by Dementia, people around them often first detect these symptoms. 

If you observe some changes in your parent’s behavior, the measures listed below will help you assist them with their diagnosis and treatment.

Encourage Them to The Doctor 

If you’ve noticed that one or both of your parents have dementia symptoms, it’s essential to talk to your parents with Dementia and encourage them to speak with their doctor about what’s going on. It can be challenging to speak to them about the changes you’ve observed in them. It can help discuss a position where you are both relaxed, understand each other clearly, and talk freely.

Don’t Self-Diagnose

Several different conditions can cause dementia-like symptoms, so it’s important not to diagnose anyone on your own. Dementia has some common symptoms with other issues, such as stress, mental health problems, stroke, medications, dietary disorders, hormone disorders, alcohol abuse, and brain tumors. The best you can do is help your parents to find out exactly what’s going on by seeing their doctor as soon as possible. 

Offer Assistance 

You may offer to assist with booking their appointment or attending that appointment. By helping your parents make a list of what they want to say to the doctor, taking notes during the visit, and reminding them to ask questions they have not remembered, you can be supportive. 

How To Deal With Dementia In A Parent

You are not alone if you are unaware of how to deal with your elderly parents with Dementia. We understand the difficulties you face in taking your parents to the doctor, working together, persuading them to bathe and clean their teeth, and engaging with them.

Here are some tips on how you can deal with your parent with Dementia.

Learn as Much as Possible About This Condition

Nothing learned in adult life prepares a person to care for a parent with Dementia. The person looks just the same, making it hard to believe that the brain is increasingly deteriorating and that mental abilities are evolving.

However, since the situation persists for years, the family has ample time to learn what to expect. The family caregiver can increase the quality of the parent’s care with more information and reduce the personal burden associated with caring for a parent with Dementia. 

Get Help from Others 

The children or family caregiver must realize one thing: It is not possible to do it alone. From family members and other relatives, colleagues, doctors, and other professionals, and paid caregivers, one needs support from all sources.

There is considerably more tension from coping with a parent with Dementia than one would imagine, and studies indicate it can impact personal wellbeing.


Those days of quick back and forth banter used to come between you and your parent will now take more attention and focus. There may be a time when your parent is much more forgetful and more confused.

However, you can find it easier to get past the challenging moments and make the best ones by adjusting how you handle each interaction. 

Don’t try to take this trip alone. Try attending a support group for Dementia to share your concerns and queries with those who quickly understand your problems.

It is a new chapter of both your and your parent’s life. You may take steps towards building a unique friendship that still has meaning for both of you, with a little empathy and finding new, constructive ways to talk to your parent with Dementia. 

Contribute By Nieuw Amsterdam Advisors