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Provide as much stimulation as you can. Look at old photographs together. Talk their family, job, hobbies and interests etc.
If the person takes quite a long time to get their thoughts together and then put them into words, the temptation may be to hurry them. If you are very busy, then try to set aside time when you do have more time. Then you can be more relaxed talking.
Try to respond not only to the words being said, but also to the intent or emotion behind the words. This is often shown by the facial expression and tone of voice.
Ask for clarification (e.g. “Are you talking about …. or ……..?”)
Often, just giving the first sound of a word (provided you know what it is they want to say) can be a sufficient memory jogger.
You give the first sound of the word and see if they can finish it (e.g. “sh” for shoes, “c” for coffee). Always check they are happy for you to do this.
Sometimes putting the word they are searching for at the end of the lead in phrase is helpful (e.g. “A cup of …” for tea). You say the lead in phrase and see if they can finish it.
Be encouraging and reinforce any attempts to communicate in any way, not just using speech.
Don’t say “Would you like a cup of tea Tom?”
Do say “Tom” ….. “would you like a cup of tea?”
Don’t say: “I think it’s about time for a cup of tea. Shall we have one now or shall we wait a bit?”
Do say: “Would you like a cup of tea?” (Wait for a response)
Don’t say: “Can you remember where your shoes are? Go and fetch them and put your coat on. Put your red one on as it’s cold outside.”
Do say: “Get your shoes” (let the person do this…) “Get your red coat.”
Do lead into the topic (e.g. “let’s chat about tomorrow night”)