Hi Rachel, greetings from Singapore. Just would like to know, I have a severe dementia patient who is male aged 92. I understand that sometimes they do go back to primal instincts and would like to touch around. As I have a female caregiver to attend to taking care of his ADLs they tend to get uncomfortable when he starts to 'touch' them. What can be done to prevent this from reoccuring? Thank you,

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Hi from the U.S.! That’s a tough one! What does he do if they nicely ask him to stop or is he past the point of understanding? (It sounds like, if he’s that advanced into dementia, that he will not understand.) 

Honestly, my best recommendation is to get a male caregiver to do his ADLs. 

If that is not possible, have two women assist with his ADLs. One woman holds his hands and talks to him gently while the other helps him get dressed, bathed, etc. He’ll feel comforted and, most importantly, he’ll have human contact, which  is what he really wants and needs. Also, his hands will be busy! He won’t be able to touch anyone inappropriately while he’s holding hands with someone.

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Rachael Wonderlin is an internationally-recognized dementia care expert and consultant. She has a Master’s in Gerontology and is the author of two published books with Johns Hopkins University Press. Rachael owns Dementia By Day, a dementia care consulting and education company.

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