Communication is hard for people with Alzheimer’s disease because they have trouble remembering things. They may struggle to find words or forget what they want to say. You may feel impatient and wish they could just say what they want, but they can’t.

The person with Alzheimer’s may have problems with:

  • Finding the right word or losing his or her train of thought when speaking
  • Understanding what words mean
  • Paying attention during long conversations
  • Remembering the steps in common activities, such as cooking, paying bills, or getting dressed

The first step is to understand that the disease causes changes in communication skills. The second step is to try some tips that may make communication easier:

  • Make eye contact and call the person by name
  • Show a warm, loving, matter-of-fact manner
  • Be patient with angry outbursts, remember, it’s the illness “talking”
  • Offer simple, step-by-step instructions, repeat instructions, and allow more time for a response
  • Be direct, specific, and positive
  • Be aware of nonverbal communication. As people lose the ability to talk clearly, they may rely on other ways to communicate their thoughts and feelings

NIH: National Institute on Aging