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Communication Problems/Early Onset Dementia

Question please for Danine Irwin:-

I am finding it hard communicating with my husband who has early onset dementia - he doesn't always get what I am saying.Grateful your advice.

Also, could you kindly tell me what are stages of early onset dementia please.

Thank you.

Pam Caldwell


  • Question please for Danine Irwin:-

    I am having trouble communicating with my husband, who has early onset dementia. He doesn't seem to understand what I am trying to say - grateful your advice.

    Also, could you kindly tell me what are stages of early onset dementia please.

    Many thanks.

    Pam Caldwell

    email:- [email protected]

  • Blanka_CBlanka_C Posts: 391 Community Admin
    edited November 2020


    Hi Pam, welcome to our Q&A Hub and thank you for your question - I'm so sorry to hear you're having trouble communicating with your husband. I'm not an expert myself, but I'll tag Danine @Danine Irwin (our Dementia Advisor) in this discussion - she'll be able to see it now and get back to you as soon as possible!

    In the meantime, I wanted to share some resources with you to look at:

    Our guide to how dementia affects communication:

    A collection of products recommended by our community, to help with communication:

    Our Personalised Dementia Assessment (by taking this clinically-validated online assessment, you'll get a report of recommendations that are tailored to you or your loved one):

    Hope this helps a little, please don't hesitate to get back with any more questions!

    Take care,


  • Blanka_CBlanka_C Posts: 391 Community Admin

    Ooops, forgot to include the following question on the hub, this is full of tips from Live Better With Members:

  • Danine IrwinDanine Irwin Posts: 9 Dementia Advisor

    Hi PamCaldwell_21 Thank you for your message; I am sorry to learn of your husband's diagnosis.

    In regards to the 'stages' of young-onset (also known as early onset) dementia, every person’s experience and response to the disease is different. There are no real stages as such; we know that dementia is a progressive disease and can progress at varying rates. The impact of dementia on one's life can be immense although often quite different for a younger person that someone older. The type of dementia makes a difference to people's experiences as well; you mention communication issues that you are experiencing, and some forms of dementia can affect speech and language more than others, this can include both processing language and responding.

    The LiveBetterWith site has some fantastic resources on dementia which have already been pointed out to you as well as members who are living with young-onset dementia who may be able to connect with you too on the forum (see this thread here and look for George Rook https://community.livebetterwith.com/dementia/discussion/1312/mum-diagnosed-with-early-onset-dementia).

    You may also like to visit Young Dementia UK (who have recently merged with Dementia UK) as there may be some other information that may help you: For more information visit www.youndementiauk.orgfollow YoungDementia UK on Twitter @YoungDementiaUK and @YoungDemNetwork and on www.facebook.com/YoungDementiaUK/ 

    In respect of the communication issues that you mention, it is key to keep communication slow and simple, without seeming patronising. Try to avoid other noisy distractions like TV or radio in the background, and limit things to one at a time. If you are reading a newspaper together, for instance, whereas you can process several columns or news and information at the same time, your husband may find this more confusing and too much writing in front of him a jumble - especially if you are talking at the same time. If you are communicating about things like mealtimes, or getting ready for bed, try using a 'flashcard' which you could make easily on a pc - using a large image and one single word that conveys what you want to do - hold it up at the same time as you announce dinner is ready. eg

    If your husband is having trouble finding the right words when he is speaking to you, just be patient and allow him the time to take to communicate. You can repeat a sentence for him if his words were a bit jumbled, asking him if that is what he means. keep a soft, kind tone and reassure him that you are listening and understanding him. Sometimes keeping a pen and paper handy can help - or a small dry/wipe board.

    I wish you and your husband all the best.

    If I can help any further please let me know.

    Kind regards


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