Approaching someone with dementia or Alzheimer’s may not seem like a big deal. Believe me, it is a big deal.
Those most uncomfortable visiting someone with dementia are typically friends or family members who don’t get to visit their loved one on a regular basis.They are a little apprehensive as to what they should say and how they’re supposed to act with this person.
- First make eye contact with them so they can actually see you face-to-face.
- Get on their eye level. If they’re sitting down you either kneel or squat down directly in front of them.
- If you want to hug them or shake their hand, tell them you would like to do so. They don’t like surprises.
- Speak slowly. It gives them time to catch up with your words. They don’t process words like they did in the past.
- Ask one question at a time but only who, what, when and where. Why is complicated and they can become frustrated.
- Never say “remember” because they don’t remember. It’s a form of disrespect as well.
- Don’t talk to them as if they are a child; they are adults and should be treated as such and with respect.
- Validate their feelings. It lets them know they are not alone.
- Interact with them by bringing old family pictures, cds with music they used to enjoy, or stuffed animals.
- Don’t argue with them. You will never win and it causes frustration and agitation.
- Don’t bring up topics that could upset them, it can lead to an argument.
This was valuable information I learned while caring for my mother.
Some of the most important information I learned was from the dementia expert, Teepa Snow. I can’t say enough about Teepa and the wisdom she brings to caregivers. If you are in a situation of not knowing how to cope with someone with dementia or Alzheimer’s I highly recommend visiting her website http://teepasnow.com.