How to have difficult conversations

A Day to Remember campaignTo help family members and others to start talking about the condition with their loved ones, the Alzheimer’s Society have issued advice on how to have difficult conversations at

Download the Alzheimer’s Society booklet ‘Worried About Your Memory?’, which  is designed to help you understand more about memory loss, so that if you are worried – either about your own or someone else’s memory – you can seek advice and, if necessary, get treatment and support.

Take steps to get help when you’re worried about someone’s memory:

  • Step 1: Plan a conversation in a familiar, non-threatening environment
  • Step 2: Explain why talking is important – you’re worried because you care
  • Step 3: Use examples to make things clearer
  • Step 4: Have an open conversation – ask how they’re feeling about their memory?
  • Step 5: Make a positive plan of action together.

Top Tips

  • Be positive – a diagnosis can give people access to the help and support they need, or the GP can help you rule out dementia and treat other symptoms. Raising concerns with your doctor can be a really positive step forward.
  • Make notes of situations that have got you worried. Giving examples will help you to express yourself in a clear and real way.
  • Don’t be upset if the person refuses to accept what you’re saying – put yourself in their shoes, they may be frightened or confused.
  • Due to the stigma surrounding dementia it is important to use non-judgemental language and make them feel at ease. Reassure them it’s not their fault.
  • Be ready to take action together. Once you’ve broached the subject, don’t hesitate, book a doctor’s appointment so you’re working towards getting help.

Here are some leading questions that you can ask to start the conversation and explore how a person if feeling about their memory:

  • Have you been worrying about anything recently?
  • Have you been feeling any differently?
  • Are you finding anything more difficult at the moment?
  • Is there anything you would like to talk to me about?
  • Have you noticed any changes within yourself?
  • Are you ok? You seem to be concerned about something?

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