Alzheimer's Foundation of America

Alzheimer's
Foundation of America

Language Tips

The Alzheimer’s Foundation of America (AFA) is here to help professionals and care partners alike to promote the consistent use of person-centered, inclusive and non-stigmatizing language when talking about dementia and people living with dementia. Using words with negative meaning when talking about dementia can have a deep impact on the person with dementia as well as on their family and friends.

When talking about dementia, use language such as: Avoid characterizations such as:
Dementia Dementing illness
Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia Demented
A form of dementia Senile dementia
Symptoms of dementia Sickness
A person/people with dementia Sufferer
A person/people living with dementia Victim
Patient (When used outside medical field)
Resident (When used outside of medical field)

 

Discuss behaviors as a form of communication using phrases such as: Do not use expressions such as:
Changed behavior(s) Challenging
Expressions of unmet need Attention seeker
Psychological symptoms of dementia Aggressor

 

Describe the impact of dementia with terms such as: Refrain from words such as:
Change in life expectations Hopeless
Stressful Tragic