7 Do’s & Don’ts of Dementia Care

Caring for a loved one can be difficult, especially if you have been married for 30+ years and your spouse is the one suffering from dementia. In other cases, you may be the adult child, caring for one or both of your parents. When caring for family, we can easily get frustrated or annoyed which can cause us to react emotionally.  

Our emotions mixed with the cognitive changes of our loved ones can tear apart our relationship with them. Therefore, it is so important for us to learn new communication techniques.  

Whether you are caring for your spouse, mom, dad or relative it is important to approach them differently since they may be suffering from Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s Disease, or other forms of dementia.  

Below, I have outlined 7 quick tips to help you better communicate with the ones you love.  

  1. Never Argue, Instead Agree – “You’re right! We did eat here last time. Would you like to eat at your other favorite place?” (In your mind you know you never ate there before but your loved one doesn’t remember.) 
  2. Never Reason, Instead Divert – “Squirrel, honey do you see that big squirrel in the back yard? He’s so cute!” (Instead of trying to reason with them about who built the tree fort, just divert the conversation.) 
  3. Never Lecture, Instead Distract – “Do you want to play checkers now?” (Instead of telling your loved one and lecturing them on how to play chess, distract them with a different game they can easily play.) 
  4. Never Say “Remember,” Instead Reminisce – “I’ll never forget the day we met, the first time you took me on a date to that one place on the water and our honeymoon was perfect. (Instead of saying don’t you remember where we went on our first date? How could you forget?) 
  5. Never Say “I Told You, Instead, Repeat” – “Yes, tomorrow we have an appt with Dr. Stevenson. Honey today we have an appointment with Dr. Stevenson.” (Instead of saying I told you this yesterday, you just simply repeat your statement.) 
  6. Never Say “You Can’t,” Instead Say What They Can – “Yes, you can go to the store with me after breakfast.” (Instead of saying you can’t go to the store until you do this.) 
  7. Never Command or Demand, Instead Ask – “Will you come to have dinner with me?” (Instead of telling your loved one to sit down at the table for dinner you ask them to have dinner with you or ask them to help set the table.)   

Hopefully, these 7 tips can help you communicate better with your loved one. It might even be a good reminder to print them and keep a copy on the refrigerator. Also, as the primary caregiver, it is important that you take time for yourself. Please do not be afraid to ask for help. You are not alone!  

Need help understanding the complex world of senior care? Get a free copy of Florida’s 5 Step Guide to Senior Care by calling our senior care expert hotline at 941-676-3411. 

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