Ivy Palmer - Care Advice & News

9 Things to Never Say to a Person with Alzheimer’s

Alzheimer’s disease profoundly affects not just memory, but also the way a person communicates and interacts with the world. 

Understanding this shift is crucial for anyone in close contact with someone who requires Alzheimer’s Live-In Care

It’s about more than adjusting to memory loss; it’s about relearning how to connect. 

This guide aims to highlight what not to say to someone with Alzheimer’s, offering insight into the disease’s impact and how to communicate with an Alzheimer’s patient

1. You’re Wrong!

Confronting someone with the disease by pointing out their mistakes can lead to confusion and distress. 

When communicating with Alzheimer’s patients, recognising their reality may differ from yours is important

Instead of correcting inaccuracies, validate their feelings. 

Acknowledging their perspective fosters a sense of security and understanding. 

If they share a memory that doesn’t align with the facts, gently steer the conversation towards a positive, stress-free topic. 

This approach minimises discomfort and helps maintain a peaceful interaction, ensuring the conversation remains pleasant for both parties. 

2. They Passed Away

Discussing the death of a loved one can be especially sensitive for someone with Alzheimer’s, who may not remember this significant loss. 

Reintroducing grief can be heartrending, as it might feel like experiencing the loss for the first time again. 

When the topic arises, it’s kinder to tread lightly. 

Use gentle language or redirect the conversation to avoid unnecessary heartache. 

If discussing the deceased becomes inevitable, focus on sharing positive memories or traits of the person, which can provide comfort without directly addressing their passing. 

3. I Told You!


Reminding a person with Alzheimer’s that you’ve already told them something can induce feelings of embarrassment or frustration. 

It’s crucial to exercise patience and adopt an understanding approach. 

Instead of highlighting forgetfulness, find subtle ways to remind them that feel natural within the context of your conversation. 

Utilising visual aids or notes can be a respectful way to jog their memory without directly stating they’ve forgotten. 

This method respects their dignity while assisting with memory recall in a supportive manner.

4. Your Alzheimer’s is Getting Worse

Comments on the progression of Alzheimer’s can be disheartening.

It’s important to avoid making direct remarks about any decline in their condition. 

Focus instead on the present, and cherishing good moments together. 

If you need to discuss their health, do so with empathy, and seek appropriate times when they are most at ease. 

Conversations about their condition should be handled delicately, always aiming to support and uplift rather than cause concern or sadness. 

This ensures a positive atmosphere, fostering a supportive environment that emphasises well-being and comfort. 

5. Remember When…?

Lady with Alzheimers playing a game

Asking someone with Alzheimer’s to recall specific events can be a source of frustration, especially when their memory doesn’t cooperate. 

It places unnecessary pressure on them to remember details they might not access, leading to potential distress. 

Instead, focus on discussing general feelings and experiences that don’t require exact recall. 

Sharing stories in a way that doesn’t expect a reciprocal memory can be enjoyable for them and allows participation without the need for specific details. 

This approach builds connections based on emotional resonance rather than factual accuracy.

If you do wish to connect with times gone by, why not make a memory book filled with photos of joyful occasions like weddings, vacations, or new additions to the family. These books not only preserve cherished moments but also provide insights for live-in carers and other professionals to understand the background to your loved one.

6. You Are Home!

It can be challenging when figuring out how to communicate with someone who has Alzheimer’s. 

Correcting someone with Alzheimer’s about their location can be confusing and upsetting for them, especially if they feel lost or out of place. 

It’s more beneficial to create a sense of familiarity and comfort, regardless of their perception of where they are.

Instead of insisting they recognise their surroundings, engage in conversations or activities that make them feel secure and valued.

Creating a calming environment, using familiar objects, or playing their favourite music can help instil a feeling of being in a peaceful environment.

7. What Did You Do This Morning?

Asking someone with Alzheimer’s about recent events can be challenging due to short-term memory loss. 

Instead of prompting them to recall specific activities, which can lead to frustration, engage them in conversations focused on general well-being or interests. 

Discuss topics that invoke feelings of joy or contentment without the need for specific details. 

This approach encourages communication and connection without the pressure of recalling recent events, making interactions more enjoyable and less stressful for both parties.

8. Do You Recognise Me?

Bloke with Alzheimers with his wife

The pain of not being recognised by a loved one with Alzheimer’s can be profound. 

However, directly asking for recognition can create anxiety and confusion. 

To know how to communicate with someone with Alzheimer’s, the first thing to do is greet them warmly and introduce yourself in a friendly, non-confrontational way each time you meet. 

Maintain a calm and positive demeanour, using familiar phrases and maintaining eye contact to convey your affection. 

Emphasise the importance of non-verbal cues, such as smiles and gentle touches, to communicate familiarity and comfort, fostering a sense of connection even when words fail.

9. It’s Raining Cats and Dogs

Using idioms or metaphors can lead to misunderstandings with someone with Alzheimer’s, as they might take your words literally. 

Opt for clear, straightforward language to ensure your messages are easily understood. 

Simplifying your speech helps prevent confusion, making communication more effective and less frustrating for both of you.

Getting to grips with Alzheimer’s care requires patience, understanding, and the right support. 

IP Live-In Care offers specialised assistance, providing not just help, but also companionship and understanding for those living with Alzheimer’s. 

Get in touch to talk about how live-in care services can bring peace of mind to you and your family.