Alzheimer's: Tips for effective communication

Alzheimer's disease presents many challenges, and communication is a big one. Try these tips to ease frustration and improve communication.

By Mayo Clinic Staff

Communicating with someone who has Alzheimer's disease can be challenging.

Because Alzheimer's disease slowly erodes verbal communication skills, your loved one's words and expressions might make little or no sense to you. In turn, he or she might have trouble deciphering your words. The resulting misunderstandings can fray tempers all around, making communication even more difficult. Here's help easing the frustration.

What to expect

Alzheimer's damages pathways in the brain, which makes it difficult to find the right words and to understand what others are saying. A person with Alzheimer's disease might have trouble finding the right words or invent an entirely new word to describe a familiar object. He or she might get stuck in a groove — like a skipping record — and repeat the same word or question over and over.

A person living with Alzheimer's disease might also:

  • Lose his or her train of thought
  • Struggle to organize words logically
  • Speak less often
  • Revert to a native language
April 28, 2016 See more In-depth