Talking to someone with dementia: 2 rules

Posted on November 3, 2015

Photo source: Flickr

Dr Kristin Addison-Brown shares two rules that, learned and remembered, ultimately guide and inform most of other suggestions that may be offered.

Rule No. 1: Don’t argue.
As painfully tempting as it may be, arguing only agitates you and the other person, potentially causing a whole cascade of additional problems. Further, neither of you can possibly “win.”Even if you succeed at somehow convincing Mom that she is wrong, she may not recall this even a few minutes later, depending on severity of the illness. And you’re back where you started.

Rule No. 2: Always Strive to Preserve Dignity and Respect
Yes, Dad may have “regressed” behaviorally. He may require assistance with self-care now, in some ways much like a child. But: He is an adult. He has lived an entire life, possibly even raising children himself. He deserves to be treated like an adult with dignity and respect. The person with dementia knows that she is not a child and she does not wish to be treated as such. The person with dementia deserves to not be treated as such.

The second rule forms the basis for the first, but the temptation to argue is so strong that it necessitated a first place listing. In general, if preservation of dignity and respect is the goal in a caregiver’s day-to-day decision-making and interactions, good decision-making and more pleasant interactions will follow.

Respect in challenging times is not always easy, and a main rule for caregivers in dealing with themselves is to avoid dwelling on mistakes and focus on the successes. Some days there will be more; other days there will be fewer. There is always tomorrow.

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Category(s):Aging & Geriatric Issues, Caregiver Issues / Stress, Dementia

Source material from Your Mind Your Body