What is it?
Checking understanding, or concept checking, is making sure that your understanding is accurate. For example, you might ask someone ‘Did you say that you would like a second helping of salad?’ Concept checking can be particularly helpful for people living with dementia who may seem to speak ‘off subject’, or use incorrect words, sentences or grammar that may nonetheless give strong clues about what they mean.
Checking understanding allows the carer to check their interpretation of these clues.
Why is it important?
Checking understanding is important because it often makes it easier to get to a person’s intention 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.
- Keep your sentences short, clear and concise, and use simple words.
- Repeat an idea in a sentence using different words.
- Use visuals – pictures, point at objects, write things down.
- Try removing other distractions, such as music, when you check things.
- Patience and positive reinforcement are good basic principles.
- If in doubt, check.