Everyone’s experience with dementia is different. That’s because everyone’s brains are different and because there are many forms of dementia, each affecting the brain in different ways. But communication difficulties are a significant part of living with dementia for everyone.
As part of your dementia, you may have difficulty:
- finding the right words, or get words mixed up
- understanding what other people are saying to you, or you might understand only part of it
- reading and writing.
Your family, friends and whānau may notice that:
- while you are speaking fluently, you are not making sense
- you lose the normal social conventions of conversation and may interrupt or ignore people
- you have more difficulty expressing what you’re feeling.
Remember, there is more to communication than words:
- 55% is body language
- 38% is the tone and pitch of our voice
- 7% is the words we use.
Losing the ability to easily communicate can be very frustrating and may lead to increased tension and feelings of increasing inadequacy and loss of confidence.
If you are finding communicating difficult:
- take your time
- tell people you have a problem with thinking, communicating and remembering
- if you don’t understand what someone says, ask them to repeat it
- remember that it is okay to ask something over and over again
- if too many people or too much noise bothers you, find a quiet place. Wearing ear plugs in noisy environments, such as shopping malls, may help
- if you lose a thought, let it go – it’s okay if you forget it and it might come back to you later
- think about what else might be causing you trouble – have your eyesight and hearing checked as eyeglasses and hearing aids may help.