Department of Health


  • Interaction context: To help orient a person to an interaction or task, a staff member provides information about time, place, person and event, allaying fear or stress.
  • Task context: Describe and explain each step in a task or activity to guide a person with dementia through what is happening.


  • Before starting a care routine ask: What is the person doing? Are they involved in another activity? What mood are they in? Explain the activity about to take place.
  • Allow a person time to adjust and reinforce the purpose of the activity by using keywords.
  • Use non-verbal communication appropriate to particular activities such as checking water temperature when bathing or positioning a person to face outwards from the shower for privacy.
  • Use the person’s name and explain who you are.
  • Identify keywords and key emotive words in any care activity and repeat them.
  • Use non-word sounds to convey ideas and provide a sense of security.
  • Use appropriate and constant tone, pitch, volume and rate of speech. Use short sentences and discuss one step of a care activity at a time.

Reviewed 22 February 2016


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