Methods of Persuasion - Communicating with Alzheimer's Disease

Convincing person with Alzheimer’s disease to cooperate
Example Scenario: getting mom to her doctor appointment that she doesn’t want to go to


  • Get her thinking about something else while you get her into the car and on her way.  Sometimes talking about going to lunch or out for ice cream will get her mind off the doctor’s appointment. Talk about your children, your job, or anything to take her mind off your final destination.



  • Try making the whole experience into something you can both chuckle about. Say something like, “I remember how scared I was to go to the doctor when I was a kid. I cried like a baby whenever had to have a shot!” You can both laugh over it, and while you’re laughing, be walking firmly to the car. If she finds this confusing, try another story. Do your best to relate to her situation using humor. The important thing is that you find a story to laugh about together.



  • Put your arm around her shoulder and say, “I know this is hard but I’ll be with you every step of the way.” Let her know that you won’t leave her and that you’ll make sure she gets home safely. Sometimes fear of what we don’t know is the scariest part.



  • Ask her why she doesn’t want to go. Listen to the feelings she’s expressing rather than the words, as people with dementia often can’t find the right words. You’ll usually be able to tell if she’s frightened, sad, or what she is feeling. Once you understand why she is resisting you’ll be able to respond to her in a way that will, hopefully, be more helpful.



  • As a last resort, always know that rescheduling is an option. If she is so upset by the idea of this appointment that she can’t be persuaded, it’s best to find another time.

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