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Speaking to dementia patients

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Dementia commonly causes confusion, which impacts Dementia commonly causes confusion, which impacts communication and speech

People living with dementia (PWD) face several communication challenges, many of which are exacerbated by unfamiliar environments and people.1 In addition, many PWD also have coexisting conditions, such as a lack of peripheral vision, that may cause additional communication difficulties. As the disease progresses, the ability to communicate may deteriorate to such an extent that the individual has no intelligible speech and a total lack of language comprehension. Difficulties in communication may have a detrimental effect on the health of PWD as important information may not be followed or understood.

Communication challenges in PWD

Some of the key communication hurdles experienced by PWD include:1

  • Difficulty with finding appropriate words
  • Lack speech coherence
  • Reduced understanding of what is being conveyed
  • Thought repetition.

‘Dementia commonly causes confusion, which impacts spoken communication and can be incredibly frustrating both for the person with dementia and their caregivers,’ says Philip Harper, Associate Lecturer in Dementia Care at the University of Worcester. ‘It can also cause confusion with regards to intentions and the meaning of what is said.’


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