Date of Award

Spring 2019

Document Type

Honors Thesis


Communication Studies

First Advisor

Dr. Jill Tyler

Second Advisor

Dr. Gerald Yutrzenka

Third Advisor

Dr. Kathy Magorian


Dementia, Communication, Caregiving, Hallucination, Psychosis, Behavioral Psychological Symptoms of Dementia (BPSD), Mindful Communication


Dementia is a complex disease comprised of multiple stages, causing it to present differently from person to person. While many people characterize people with dementia as forgetful, this symptom is often coupled with one or more of the following: decreased competency in communication and language formation, impaired judgment or reasoning, a hard time focusing attention, and impaired visual and auditory perception. In light of these symptoms, it is not uncommon for an individual with dementia to experience mild hallucinations or subjective realities. While research with dementia patients has been conducted to observe how communication competencies are affected, as well as what communicative strategies may be utilized while completing activities of daily living, communication tactics utilized specifically when caring for patients experiencing some form of subjective reality has not yet been explicitly investigated. This is an important topic, as approaches to hallucination and delusion can significantly impact a patient’s perception of, and engagement with, their surroundings and caregivers. This study aims (a) to shed light on what types of communicative strategies those caring for individuals with dementia use to bridge the gaps between their residents' environments and their skewed perception of them, and (b) to establish guidelines that caregivers may implement in their everyday practice.



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