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Communication secrets: Angela Caughey’s second dementia book launches

At Dementia Auckland, we’re lucky to have the support of some fantastic and knowledgeable people – among them, Angela Caughey. Having been supported by Dementia Auckland during her husband’s long time living with Lewy body dementia (LBD), Angela now gives back to the organisation with not just her time, but also the proceeds from her books about dealing with dementia.

Her first book, Dealing Daily with Dementia, was extremely popular among carers looking for practical, real-life advice. Her follow-up book, which launched on Thursday May 10th, dives into how to communicate with someone living with dementia.

“I had worked in marriage guidance for many years and we’d studied communication,” shares Angela. “It is immensely complicated – an enormous amount of it isn’t even talking, it’s body language so that communicating with someone who has dementia can be extremely challenging.”

Her publisher asked her to put together a book focusing on communication, thinking the book might take two months to put together. 22 months later, after much work by the two of them, it was finally finished!

“The challenge was knowing what to put first – how to speak effectively, how to listen sensitively, how to interpret body language.

“The book covers all stages – for family members, spouses, and professional carers. A point made early on is that sometimes you end up having to care for someone you don’t always like. They can be difficult and can turn you off. As a carer, you have to take on the role of a hospital nurse – loving, cheerful, and kind. You roleplay every day when taking care of someone with dementia.”

Angela’s top tips for communication include:

  • Keep questions to a minimum
  • Use positive language, not negative language
  • Respect the person who has dementia
  • Avoid correcting them, and avoid using figures of speech (saying ‘hop in the car and we’ll hit the road’ can be very confusing to someone who has forgotten what those colloquialisms mean)
  • Allow for pauses in conversation – sometimes they just need a little time to get their brain into action
  • Be aware of the person you’re communicating with. Watch them: their body language, posture, facial expression, and especially their eyes.

‘How to communicate with someone who has dementia: A guide for carers’ is a hugely valuable book with an immense amount of practical guidance for carers of people with dementia. Not only will it help you significantly improve the way you communicate with people who have dementia, but royalties from sales of the book will come directly to Dementia Auckland.


Please order your copy directly from Calico Publishing
RRP $35 + $5 delivery in New Zealand
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Phone: 09 624 5674
Website: http://calicopublishing.co.nz/book/communicate-someone-dementia/