Wednesday Workshop – Things to Avoid When Caring for Someone with Dementia
Hello and welcome to Wednesday Workshop. Caring for someone with dementia can be challenging both physically and emotionally. If you’re caring for someone living with dementia, it’s important to understand that if their behavior changes, it may not be anyone’s fault.
Dementia can influence a person’s behavior including wandering, depression, anxious or agitated states, aggression, hallucinations and false ideas. Although these can be upsetting, there are many strategies that may help your loved one.
Here’s a list of things to avoid when caring for someone with Dementia:
1. Avoid saying “Remember”
Reminiscing may be healthy, but avoid asking, “Do you remember when…?” No, they cannot remember. Alzheimer’s disease is robbing your loved one of their memories. Asking them to remember may make them feel frustrated or even confused.
2. Avoid isolation
Loneliness and social isolation have been clearly linked to poor health outcomes. One frightening finding is that feelings of loneliness are linked to poor cognitive performance and quicker cognitive decline in dementia patients. Also, numerous studies have shown that socially isolated seniors even have a shorter life expectancy.
3. Avoid giving too many options
Ask one question at a time; those with yes or no answers work best. Refrain from asking open-ended questions or giving too many choices. For example, ask, “Would you like to wear a white shirt or a blue shirt?” Show them the choices—visual prompts and cues also help clarify your question and can guide their response.
4. Avoid arguing
If the person says something you don’t agree with, let it be. Arguing usually only makes things worse — often heightening the level of agitation for the person with dementia. Dementia causes people with dementia to lose the ability to think logically, so reasoning or arguing with them isn’t an effective method. Remember the kindergarten rule, if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all. It’s better just to remain silent until you both cool off.
5. Avoid taking it personally
Do not take disruptive behaviors personally. Remaining flexible, patient and calm will serve you best as you go about caregiving. People with Alzheimer’s lose their filter, so they might say or do mean things once in a while. When this happens, and it probably will, remember that it’s the disease talking. Sometimes the emotions being expressed are more important than what is being said. Look for the feelings behind the words!
To speak with us here at the Alzheimer’s Care Resource Center
Feel free to call us at (877) 760-9199. Thanks for watching today’s Wednesday Workshop and we’ll see you again next week!