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Listen, talk, connect guide

Dementia advice

Listen, talk, connect has been put together by colleagues and those with personal experience of caring for loved ones, to assist relatives, friends and carers to continue having meaningful conversations with anyone living with dementia.

Listening is key when it comes to communicating with someone living with dementia. Not feeling listened to, or heard, can be a source of great anxiety and frustration to us all – and dementia will only amplify this. As carers and visitors, we have to listen carefully when we are talking to someone with dementia – and look for clues when the meaning isn’t immediately clear.

Listen, talk, connect
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Inside this guide

  • Inspiration from families and Care UK professionals
  • Understanding how to communicate ‘in the moment’
  • Discover ways to spark conversations and unlock memories
  • Ideas and tips for rewarding conversations and moments with your loved one

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Frequently asked questions

Communication with someone living with dementia can be challenging – but it can also be rewarding. Live in the moment with them, whether that is today or the 1950s, and ask them questions about memories of their childhood. Memory boxes can also prompt conversations. Download ‘Listen, talk, connect’ via the link above for more tips. 

Avoid open questions or asking questions like, ‘Don't you remember me?’

Instead, try asking simple questions to understand where they are in that moment. Avoid modern words like ‘Google’ or ‘iPhone’, and try not to use irony or sarcasm, as this will likely be lost on someone living with dementia. Download ‘Listen, talk, connect’ to learn more. 

These vary depending on the individual and the type of dementia they have, but as dementia is a progressive disease, the symptoms will change over time. Read more about the stages of dementia and behavioural changes

The most common signs of dementia include:

  • Repeating questions 
  • 'Walking with purpose', also referred to as wandering or pacing 
  • Sleeping at unusual times due to disruption to the sleep cycle 
  • Feelings of distress causing agitation 
  • Removing clothing 
  • Delusions or hallucinations 

Understand more about the progression of dementia in our free guide, 'Listen, talk, connect'.