The Power of Words

The Power of Words

Jo Bennett

The language we use about dementia affects how people think and feel about dementia.

“Words are very powerful – they can build you up or put you down. When you are speaking about dementia remember this.” (Agnes Houston, person with dementia). We want everyone to think carefully about the language they use in relation to dementia and in particular to avoid ‘curl up and die’ words such as sufferer and victim.


We recognise that it is going to take collective action to fundamentally change the choice of words that are used to describe dementia and its day to day experiences.

Dementia Words Matter
The Dementia Engagement and Empowerment Project (DEEP) and the Dementia Action Alliance (DAA) have joined forces in a Call to Action around ‘Dementia Words Matter’.
Find out more at the DAA website:

‘I am not a victim’: Tips for reporting on dementia 
Dementia Diaries produced an article where people living with dementia discuss how the media can better phrase its coverage of the illness
Go to:  (17 August 2015)
Word Matter - infographic


  • Dementia words matter: Guidelines on language about dementia

    This guidance is for journalists, organisations and communications departments.

    The language we use to talk about dementia influences how people with dementia are viewed and also how they feel about themselves. People with dementia prefer words and descriptions that are accurate, balanced and respectful.


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