Tips For Speaking About Memory Changes
- Begin with educating yourself about memory changes and their potential causes.
- Know the person, their preferences and unique identity.
- Include the individual in the conversation for as long as possible.
- Keep in mind tone, body language and try to remain calm.
- Be aware of details. For example, while some people may be happy to see their family around them during a conversation of this nature, some may be more private.
- Be considerate with the language used. For example, it may be more beneficial and supportive to refrain from making statements like, “You need to go to the doctor.”
- Be mindful of how these concerns are being described. For example, instead of using trigger words like Alzheimer’s, perhaps refer to the memory changes in a less intimidating way, using examples (e.g. “I noticed that…”).
- Recognize that this conversation may happen more than once. Try to continue the dialogue but be considerate as this conversation can be overwhelming for everyone.
- Be open to changing your strategy and know what resources are available.
Licensed social workers are available to offer additional strategies and support via AFA’s National Toll-Free Helpline (866-232-8484).