Checking understanding

This can be particularly important for people living with dementia, who may seem to be speaking ‘off subject’, or who may be using words that don’t seem to fit the context of the conversation.

Taking the time to check that you understand not only makes it easier to get to a person’s intentions and meaning; it also shows the person living with dementia that their struggles to communicate are being taken seriously and that a joint effort may help to overcome barriers.

  • Work towards a meaning together in discussion if it cannot be found immediately.
  • Sometimes it helps to search for clues. Be polite – and enjoy the ride.
  • Don’t try so hard that you get frustrated yourself. Let go if you cannot find a shared meaning but be prepared to try again.
  • Ask if you have understood a meaning correctly.