Communication is an important part of our life. It helps us to express who we are and allows us to relate to one another. When we communicate, we exchange information about our needs, ideas, beliefs, feelings, experiences and values. Communication is more than talking and listening; it involves understanding and interpreting.
Communication can happen in many ways, including:
- Verbal communication: the words that we use (7%)
- Non-verbal communication: body language such as facial expression, posture and gesture (55%)
- Para-verbal communication: tone, pacing and volume of our voices (38%)
How does dementia affect communication?
Dementia can have a profound effect on the language abilities of people living with the disease, which can be upsetting and frustrating for the person living with dementia and those around them. This language deterioration is known as aphasia. Individuals living with aphasia experience difficulty:
- expressing themselves,
- finding the right words,
- understanding spoken language and
- reading and writing.
People living with dementia may lose specific communication abilities during the early, middle and late stages of the disease. This impairs their ability to hold and maintain conversation.