5 Things to Never Say to Someone with Dementia


We understand how tough it is to see someone you care about suffering from dementia. Watching change, seeing parts of who they are slipping away while you do your best to support them – it’s heart-wrenching. As dementia progresses, talking and connecting become trickier for them. It’s a different journey for each person dealing with it.

The kind of challenges they face and how tough they get depends on the type and stage of dementia they’re in. Some struggle with finding words, while others find it hard to understand what’s said to them.

But here’s the communication that is key in helping someone to deal with dementia. Some certain words and questions are better left unsaid in conversations to make things smoother for them. You know, little things that can make a big difference.

It’s about finding ways to talk that make the clarity and frustration manageable. Here are a few things to remember when interacting with a person suffering from dementia.

1. That’s Not Right

If you haven’t encountered someone struggling with dementia or cognitive decline, it might be hard to nod along when your loved one shares something that seems wrong. However, engaging in a debate can make them troubled or nervous. So it would be best to show some patience; it’s the best thing to do here.

Instead of going head-to-head, shift gears. Changing the topic can work here. Steering away from disagreements is the way to go. Don’t correct them if they say something off; move the conversation toward something positive. Saying “you’re wrong” is among the phrases best left unsaid to someone with dementia.

2. Don’t You Remember?

This phrase might slip out innocently, but for someone with dementia, it can be like stumbling into a foggy maze with no way out. Dementia affects memory, and asking them if they remember something only amplifies their struggle. Imagine feeling lost in a conversation because you can’t recall the memory. Instead, try sharing stories or focusing on the present moment to create a meaningful connection.

3. Avoid Mentioning Departed Loved Ones

It’s common for those with dementia to believe their deceased loved ones are still alive. Conveying the truth about their absence might provoke disbelief or anger. Even if they believe you, it’s a distressing revelation they will swiftly forget. One exception is if they directly ask about their absence, then honesty, followed by a shift in topic.

4. How Was Your Morning?

Limit asking questions about past events, as this can cause stress to the person with dementia as they cannot recall memories. While asking about their day might seem gracious, focusing on the present proves more beneficial.

Try this instead: engage briefly about your day and encourage them to ask, which might prompt them to share their experiences. Avoid open-ended queries with someone diagnosed with dementia, as they can trigger confusion. Questions probing past events, like “What did you eat yesterday,” may distress them due to memory lapses. Accept the present and utilize surroundings like photos or ornaments to spark conversation.

5. You Don’t Have Dementia

Denying their reality can be deeply hurtful. People with dementia are often aware of their condition to some extent, and denying it invalidates their experience. It would be best to show empathy and support rather than dismissing their feelings. Understanding their emotions and providing comfort can improve their convenience and well-being.

Wrap Up

By following these recommendations, you can create a more supportive environment for your loved ones suffering from dementia. Additionally, for those seeking support and specialized care for their loved ones with dementia, reach out to Courtyard Luxury Senior Living. We provide the best-assisted care facilities with a team of dedicated and highly trained caregivers committed to enhancing the lives of residents.

Our specialized dementia care services provide peace of mind for you and your family. At Courtyard Luxury Senior Living, we ensure your loved one receives personalized, high-quality care.

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