Improving Quality of Life for Dementia Patients

Patient with Dementia

Improving Quality of Life for Dementia Patients

Alzheimer’s & Brain Awareness Month serves as a reminder to raise awareness about neurological conditions such as dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Facial expressions and visual cues have a profound impact on the well-being and quality of life of people living with these conditions. In medical settings, traditional face masks act as a barrier to these important visual cues. Incorporating clear face masks can help promote effective communication and enhance the overall care provided to patients.

Non-verbal communication and Dementia

Understanding the role that facial expressions play in dementia care is important. Both practitioners and family members can facilitate the best possible care for patients. These conditions can significantly impair one’s ability to interpret and understand facial expressions accurately, leading to communication challenges and emotional disconnect. Memory patients often struggle to decipher the meaning behind smiles, frowns, or other facial cues, which can result in confusion and frustration. Caregivers and healthcare professionals need to adapt their communication approaches to foster better connections, emotional well-being, and quality of care.

Nevertheless, There are immense emotional and cognitive benefits to clear communication through facial expressions. When caregivers and healthcare professionals effectively convey emotions and intentions through facial expressions, the communication gap is bridged while promoting a sense of connection and understanding. Clear facial expressions can evoke positive emotions, comfort, and reassurance, reducing anxiety and enhancing overall well-being. By harnessing the power of facial expressions, we can provide a nurturing and supportive environment that promotes emotional engagement and enriches the lives of those living with dementia.

Strategies for caregivers to convey emotions:

  1. Maintain eye contact enhances direct and meaningful connection.
  2. Use reflective facial expressions, such as smiling to convey happiness or furrowing the brow to express concern, can help individuals interpret and respond to emotions more accurately, according to researchers.
  3. Pair facial expressions with clear verbal cues reinforces the intended emotions and facilitates better understanding.
  4. Use of clear face masks, like The Communicator™ mask, allows facial expressions to be seen.

By employing these strategies, caregivers and healthcare professionals can enhance communication, foster emotional connections, and create a supportive environment that promotes the well-being of individuals living with dementia.

Visual Cues

Visual cues play a decisive part in enhancing communication and engagement in dementia care. As verbal communication abilities decline, non-verbal communication becomes increasingly important. Visual cues, such as gestures, facial expressions, and body language, provide additional channels of communication that can convey emotions, intentions, and information. These cues are especially valuable as they can surpass language barriers, helping individuals better understand and interpret their surroundings.

Undeniably, Visual cues offer a sense of familiarity, reduce confusion and anxiety, and promote a sense of security and connection. By recognizing and utilizing the power of visual cues in dementia care, caregivers and healthcare professionals can create a more inclusive and enriching environment, fostering meaningful interactions, and improving overall well-being.

Practical ways to incorporate visual cues:

  1. Visual Schedules: Create visual schedules or calendars with clear pictures or symbols to outline daily routines, including mealtimes, medication schedules, and recreational activities.
  2. Labeling and Signage: Use clear labels and signage to identify different areas of the living space, such as the bathroom, bedroom, or kitchen.
  3. Memory Boxes or Memory Boards: These visual reminders can help trigger memories and foster connections to past experiences.
  4. Visual Cue Cards: These visual cues can guide patients through step-by-step instructions, assisting them in completing daily activities more independently.
  5. Color Coding: Use color-coded systems to organize items, such as clothing or medication, based on categories or days of the week.
  6. Visual Prompts for Hygiene: Display visual cues in the bathroom, such as pictures or illustrations demonstrating the steps for washing hands, brushing teeth, or taking a shower.

The need for clear face masks

The need for clear face masks in dementia care becomes evident when we recognize the limitations of traditional face masks in effectively communicating with patients. Standard face masks obstruct crucial visual cues that are essential for non-verbal communication, such as facial expressions, lip movements, and gestures. Visual cues play a significant role in understanding emotions, intentions, and social interactions. By using clear face masks, like The Communicator™ mask, caregivers and healthcare professionals can provide a more inclusive and empathetic communication experience.

Specifically, Clear face masks allow people to see facial expressions, fostering a sense of connection and reducing confusion or anxiety. Moreover, these masks enable better lip reading and enhance comprehension during conversations, ensuring vital information is conveyed accurately. Clear face masks play a crucial role in maintaining effective communication, promoting emotional well-being, and improving the overall care experience.

During Alzheimer’s & Brain Awareness Month, let’s recognize the significance of clear communication, visual cues, and facial expressions in enhancing the lives of individuals living with dementia and Alzheimer’s. By embracing clear face masks, we can create a more compassionate and inclusive environment that fosters meaningful connections and improves the quality of care for those affected by these conditions.


Loevner, Evan, Executive Director/Owner at Aviva In-home Care, and former hospital administrator. (2023, February 1). Is non-verbal communication important for seniors with dementia?. Home Care in San Francisco by Aviva In-Home Care. 

Non-verbal communication and dementia. Alzheimer’s Society. (2021, May 24) 

Seidl, U., Lueken, U., Thomann, P. A., Kruse, A., & Schröder, J. (2012). Facial expression in Alzheimer’s disease: impact of cognitive deficits and neuropsychiatric symptoms. American Journal of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, 27(2), 100–106.

Sussex Publishers. (2019, July 28). The importance of body language in dementia. Psychology Today.