Guidance to help friends, relatives and carers overcome the stigma of communicating with people with dementia has been published by Bupa.
The Talking Toolkit contains guidance and practical tips on communicating with people with dementia such as avoiding asking open questions.
Instead, questions with a direct “yes” or “no” answer are favourable, it says, as open questions can be confusing.
For example, instead of asking: “what would you like for lunch”, the guidance suggests patients should be asked: “would you like a cheese sandwich”.
Where possible, statements should be kept brief, as patients “may lose the thread of the conversation”, the document adds.
In addition, it advises clinicians and carers to try and avoid contradicting the person with dementia as this could increase their anxiety.
“Remember that at that moment, what they are saying is what they know to be true,” the guidance notes.
It adds that if the person with dementia is no longer able to communicate by talking, “your physical presence may be enough to reassure them or put them at ease”.
Graham Stokes, director of dementia care at Bupa, said: “Finding ways to maintain meaningful communication is the single most important way people can support those with dementia.
“Our toolkit identifies some specific ways to help and encourage people to do this.”