Don’t ask if they “remember your name”

If I can, I always opt to ditch my name tag in a dementia care environment. I let my friends with dementia decide what my name is: I’ve been Susan, Gwendolyn, and various peoples’ kids. I’ve been so many identities to my residents, too: a coworker, a boss, a student, a sibling, a friend from […]

3 things you can do to cope with repetitive questions

“Where am I?” Nathan asked. “Where’s my room?” We’d showed Nathan his room about 15 times that day, and it was getting exhausting. I was new to dementia care, and wanted to “solve” this “behavioral issue” with some creativity. Here was the issue, though: you can’t stop repetitive questions. You can, perhaps, distract the person […]

“She KNOWS something is wrong with her.”

A woman in the audience raised her hand. “I have a good friend with dementia, and sometimes she’ll say, ‘I know something is wrong with me.’ It really breaks my heart, but I don’t know what to say! Should I tell her she has dementia?” Here’s what I said: She is already aware that there […]

Always ask people with dementia for help

“He’s really combative,” the staff member complained, popping in my doorway. “Christian keeps slapping my hand away when I’m trying to wash his face.” “Okay, let me come check this out with you,” I suggested. We walked back into Christian’s room, where he was pleasantly sitting on a shower bench. He didn’t seem “combative,” but […]

Finding Calm in Repetitive Questions

Like many people with dementia, Lucille had a “phrase” that she used often. Well, it wasn’t so much a “phrase” as it was a line of questioning that she asked every 10-20 minutes.  “HEY!” she’d call, whenever she saw me. “What time of day is it?” or “HEY! What day of the week is it?”  Fortunately for Lucille (and, […]

“Mom remembers dad, but has a new boyfriend.”

Anonymous writes: My mother has been in a memory care center for 2-½ years. She has recently started kissing a fellow resident even though she still recognizes my dad when he comes to visit. Most recently, she has now been found in this other man’s bed twice. My dad and my sister are using humor […]

How do I stop fighting with mom?

“Mom’s room is a mess!” Joe complained. “Every time I go in there, we argue about her clothes and her dirty briefs and all of that!” It was true. Joe and his mom, Bethany, argued nonstop when he came to visit her at our dementia care community.  He’d go into her room, find her dirty briefs […]

“He sleeps all day!”

Most people with dementia, especially in later stages, will sleep all day if you let them.  A lot of caregivers come to me with the same problem. “I don’t know what to do! He/she sleeps all day. Is that normal?” It’s normal, if you let it be normal. Most people with dementia will err on the […]

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