Slow & Steady

What you say and how you say it is critical in reducing anxiety in a person with dementia:

1. Ask one simple question at a time. Complex choices may overload the person’s decision-making ability.

2. Ask them to do one task at a time. They may not be able to remember several tasks or be unable to make sense of your message. Most things we ask a person to do— get ready for bed, put on a coat to go to the store—involve several tasks. The person with dementia may not be able to sort out these tasks. Break down each project into individual steps and ask them to do one step at a time.

3. Speak slowly, and wait for the person to respond. Their response may be much slower than what seems normal to us. Breathe. Wait.