“But you already took them” and other Logic Statements that don’t work

Sponsored by Memorable Pets

Use code RWONDER for free shipping (up to $50 of shipping costs) on your next order! Click the Memorable Pets logo here to start saving.

Logic and dementia don’t mix. What does that mean? It really means that using logic to “explain yourself” to someone with dementia won’t work out well. So, saying to someone with dementia, “But you can’t eat lunch, because you already ate lunch” won’t compute. They don’t remember eating, they still feel hungry, and they think you’re making it up!

“I want my pills,” Molly said. “Can you bring me my pills?” she asked a nearby staff member. 

“I already brought them to you, you had your pills this morning,” the staff member replied kindly.

“No I didn’t, I want my pills now,” Molly shook her head.

“But I already gave them to you…” the staff member started.

“Hang on,” I offered, walking over. “I have a solution,” I said to the staff member.

“Hey, Molly, I’m going to bring you your pills in a little bit!” I smiled.

“Okay, thanks,” Molly said, and went back to eating her lunch.

Instead of arguing or attempting to use logic with this resident, I embraced her reality. Trying to “convince” her that she already took her medicine wasn’t going to work: she didn’t remember doing it, and so it didn’t happen. 

I decided to get into her world and tell her the truth of her reality: that she’d be getting her pills soon. Of course, I never brought them to her, but hearing a positive confirmation calmed her down immediately. 

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on pinterest
Share on email

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

rachael photo

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

16 things poster
Get the FREE “16 Things” poster!

16 Things I Would Want If I Got Dementia

Get the FREE “16 Things” poster for your personal use—or better yet—your dementia care community’s staff break room!

I wrote this poem years ago, but to date, it’s the most popular piece I’ve ever created.

16 things poster