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FOCUSED Communication Strategies
for persons with Dementia

F = Face

  • Face the person with Dementia directly
  • Call his or her name
  • Touch the person
  • Gain and maintain eye contact

O = Orient

  • Orient the person with Dementia to the topic by repeating key words several times
  • Repeat and rephrase sentences
  • Use nouns and specific names

C = Continue

  • Continue the same topic of conversation for as long as possible
  • Restate the topic throughout the conversation
  • Indicate to the person with Dementia that you are introducing a new topic

U = Unstuck

  • Help the person with Dementia become “unstuck” when he or she uses a word incorrectly by suggesting the intended word
  • Repeat the sentence the person said using the correct word
  • Ask, “do you mean….?”

S = Structured

  • Structure your questions so that the person with Dementia will be able to recognize and repeat a response
  • Provide two simple choices at a time
  • Use yes/no questions

E = Exchange

  • Keep up the normal exchange of ideas we use in everyday conversation
  • Keep conversations going with comments such as, “oh, how nice,” or “that’s great”
  • Do not ask “test” questions
  • Give the person with Dementia clues as to how to answer your questions

D = Direct

  • Keep sentences short, simple, and direct
  • Put the subject of the sentences first
  • Use and repeat nouns (names of persons or things) rather than pronouns (he, she, it their, etc)
  • Use hand signal, pictures, and facial expressions.

Ref: Ripich and Ziol (1998)


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