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Importance of Sharing Memory Kits and Picture Books

Target audience: caregivers/family members and also those in the health field.

Purpose: to provide practical advice and tools for enriching the lives of loved ones and clients, to provide a way to establish a bond, and to enable the reader/facilitator to feel more confident and relaxed during these interactions, to lessen their stress and anxiety.  This can be multigenerational - everyone can enjoy the story. This helps the person with memory loss to relax; the focus is off of them.

Dementia is progressive and fluid. What works one day may not the next. What one person latches onto, another may not. It's fun to explore together.





How to Communicate With a Person With Dementia

Ways to communicate with a person with dementia

  • Communicate clearly and calmly.
  • Use short, simple sentences.
  • Don’t talk to the person as you would to a child – be patient and have respect for them.
  • Try to communicate with the person in a conversational way, rather than asking question after question which may feel quite tiring or intimidating.
  • Include the person in conversations with others. It is important not to speak as though they are not there. Being included can help them to keep their sense of identity and know they are valued. It can also help them to feel less excluded or isolated.
  • If the person becomes tired easily, then short, regular conversations may be better.
  • Avoid speaking sharply or raising your voice.   

How to pace conversations

  • Go at a slightly slower pace than usual if the person is struggling to follow you.
  • Allow time between sentences for the person to process the information and respond. These pauses might feel uncomfortable if they become quite long, but it is important to give the person time to respond.
  • Try to let the person complete their own sentences, and try not to be too quick to assume you know what they are trying to say.

Things to consider about body language

  • Stand or sit where the person can see and hear you as clearly as possible – usually this will be in front of them, and with your face well-lit. Try to be at eye-level with them, rather than standing over them.
  • Be as close to the person as is comfortable for you both, so that you can clearly hear each other, and make eye contact as you would with anyone.
  • Prompts can help, for instance pointing at a photo of someone or encouraging the person to hold and interact with an object you are talking about.
  • Try to make sure your body language is open and relaxed.

Tips for asking questions

  • Try to avoid asking too many questions, or asking complicated questions. The person may become frustrated or withdrawn if they can’t find the answer. 
  • Try to stick to one idea at a time. Giving someone a choice is important, but too many options can be confusing and frustrating.
  • Phrase questions in a way that allows for a simple answer. For example, rather than asking someone what they would like to drink, ask if they would like tea or coffee. Questions with a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer are easier to answer.

How to communicate with a person with dementia | Alzheimer's Society (


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