Language, communication and dementia

Dr Vineeta Chand

Dr Vineeta Chand

Professor Monika Schmid

Prof Monika Schmid

Communication is one of the major challenges faced by people living with dementia and those around them. How can we improve it?

The challenge

For those living with dementia, their carers, their family and their friends, effective communication can provide one of the biggest frustrations. And yet, continued successful communication is vital to maintaining those all too important bonds.

Our project

We are conducting research in order to better inform the public about how language and communication change as dementia takes hold. We feel people living with dementia, their families and their carers need to know what’s likely to happen and be given ‘tools’ in order to enable them to cope more effectively.

Ultimately, we are aiming to produce user-friendly resources and web materials that can be accessed by all those affected.

Our research focus

Our focus is on how changes in language, as in what we say and how we say it, relates to ageing, and dementia diagnosis and progression. It's crucial that people with dementia can continue to express their feelings. But, they and those around them are often not aware of how language and communication will change as the dementia takes hold, which can in turn lead to increased frustration and distress on all sides.

If we can provide the right information in order to inform and educate those affected, we can better prepare all concerned to accept and work with the changes as they occur and find adjusted avenues for successful interaction.

This can then feed into the clinical rehabilitation process, as those with dementia and their carers who are coping well are best placed for clinical intervention and trials as diagnostic and medical breakthroughs emerge.

First goal

Our project is designed to complement and support existing clinical and bio-medical studies by incorporating publicly generated questions and concerns into our research.

Our first goal is to assess and better understand the current needs, perceptions and questions surrounding the languages changes in dementia. To reach this goal we are holding workshops and individual interviews with key organisations, clinicians and carers.

Research team

The project is based in our Centre for Language Development throughout the Lifespan.

  • Professor Monika Schmid, Department of Language and Linguistics, University of Essex (Principal Investigator)
  • Dr Vineeta Chand, Department of Language and Linguistics, University of Essex (Principal Investigator)
  • Dr Cornelia Lahmann, University of Mannheim (Postdoctoral Research Assistant)
  • Erica Hall, Department of Language and Linguistics, University of Essex (Research Assistant)

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