How to respond if they ask, “How am I doing?”


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Today’s topic is about how to respond if they ask, “How am I doing?”

I got an interesting question from a woman who reads my blog recently. She said her husband always wants to know how he’s doing and he says that he’ll get mad if I don’t tell him the truth about how he’s doing. And I thought about this because she was worried about not telling him the truth and saying like, okay, well it seems like you were struggling the other night, you know, to find words. And I thought about, you know, if you go to a party and you have maybe one too many drinks and you were a little bit silly, right? The next day if you talk to a friend and you say, oh, how was I? The last thing you want them to say is you were straight-up crazy terrible last night.

You were awful to be around, right? You were the worst. Even if you were all those things, you probably want your friend to, soften the blow a little bit, right? You probably want them to say, “Oh, you know, you maybe had one too many, but you seemed like you seemed fine.” So my response to this woman was this… when your husband asks, “How am I doing? What stage of dementia am I in?” I don’t think it’s necessary to say, “Oh, you seemed like you were having a really hard time word finding. That’s not going to help anybody. It’s probably just going to make them more focused on it.

Think of it like you’re really softening the blow. You’re really just making it digestible. There’s no point in telling this person that they’re not doing well. There’s no point. It’s not going to make them do better. So, as always, if you have a question, please write in, or email me. Love to answer questions as long as they’re, short and concise things. If you have something you want to really discuss, like if you’re thinking about moving somebody to a care community, or if you’re seeing behavior in your loved one that you are just not sure what to do about, please set up a time to chat with me.

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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 three published books with Johns Hopkins University Press. Rachael owns Dementia By Day, a dementia care consulting and education company.

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