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15 Dementia Communication Tips from an Admiral Nurse

A successful joint funding venture between the NHS Clinical Commissioning Groups and Dementia UK sees the launch of a new Admiral Nurse service across Norfolk. Six Admiral Nurses have been recruited to provide tailor-made services for South Norfolk, Norwich and North Norfolk.  

Admiral Nurse Clinical Team Lead – Emma Krzyz, talked to Age Space and shared with us some great information and advice.  

“When things get challenging or difficult for people living with dementia and their families, we will give them one-to-one support, guidance and practical solutions that can be hard to find elsewhere. Such as transitioning skills, coping with ‘Living Grief’, practical skills around communication and support on how to access local services.  

An Admiral Nurse will help families live more positively with dementia in the present and to face the challenges of tomorrow with more confidence and less fear.” 

Interestingly, Age Space learnt that The Admiral Nurse Team’s primary focus is the carer and helping them to look after someone living with dementia. I’m sure you’ll agree, that this is great news – finally the role of a carer is being recognised as needing more support.

A hot topic of discussion on our forum is the issue of how to communicate with someone living with dementia – it can be incredibly difficult and indeed frustrating for the family. Dementia UK offer the below tips on how to improve communication which we hope will help.  

Communication Tips  

We communicate a lot through our body language, facial expressions, and tone of voice. If we appear to be positive, cheerful and confident, we can bring a sense of hope and reassurance to the conversation, and conversely if we appear resentful or unhappy, we can bring a sense of gloom.  

You could try: 

  1. Stopping what you’re doing and focusing on the person 
  2. Cut down on distractions 
  3. Saying their name 
  4. Touching the person’s arm, if they feel comfortable with this 
  5. Smiling 
  6. Introducing yourself every time 
  7. Speaking slowly, clearly and in short sentences 
  8. Listening carefully with empathy and understanding 
  9. Giving the person plenty of time to answer 
  10. Maintaining appropriate eye contact 
  11. Using gestures or illustrate the meaning of what you’re saying (e.g. miming drinking a cup of tea, or using photographs to explain) 
  12. Using simple and straightforward language 
  13. Being specific; try not to use pronouns such as he or she, use a person’s name instead 
  14. Avoiding the use of too many open-ended questions or offering too many choices 
  15. Trying not to argue or quibble 

If you are struggling and would like to receive the support of an Admiral Nurse, contact your local GP for a referral.  

Age UK Norwich offers free fortnightly workshops and more information regarding dates and session topics can be found here on the Age UK Norwich website.

Visit our Norfolk Dementia pages for more information on dementia services in Norfolk. 

Age Space parent pages contains lots more general information on dementia. 

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