Communication Techniques to help those with Cognitive Impairment.

Recognizing the need for the way you communicate and implementing these approaches will allow for less chaos, behavior and frustration.

  1. Use Yes/No questions and avoid choices and open-ended questions.

  2. Avoid lengthy explanations.  Give short, simple explanations.

  3. Never argue or power struggle.

  4. Avoid giving more than 1 task at a time.

  5. A low pitched, slow, measured tone of voice will help reassure the person.

  6. Speak slowly and clearly.

  7. Be concrete and specific.

  8. Be patient. Give the person time to respond.

  9. Keep a calm, accepting, and open affect.

  10. Long-term memory is often intact, so encourage reminiscing.

  11. Try to interpret the feelings the person is try to express rather than the content.  Pay attention to body language.

  12. Avoid treating the person like an infant.

  13. Do not directly challenge delusions or fantasies, but cast doubt.  For example, “you may think you are in France, but this is the United States.”

  14. Consistently re-orient the person to person, place and time.

  15. Avoid frustrating or confusing topics.ccTry to change the subject.

  16. Be aware of your body language and consciously slow down and relax.


Andi Carroll
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