Don’t ask someone with dementia if they “know your name” or “remember you”

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 fromContinue reading “Don’t ask someone with dementia if they “know your name” or “remember you””

“Her memory is terrible, but she doesn’t have dementia” and other statements by people in denial

“Well, mom probably forgot to call you back. I told her to do it, but her memory is just terrible,” Megan’s daughter said. “She doesn’t have dementia, though.” What! Of COURSE mom has dementia. This was later confirmed when I met Megan and found that, indeed, her memory and decision-making skills were quite lacking. She wasContinue reading ““Her memory is terrible, but she doesn’t have dementia” and other statements by people in denial”

Stop taking people with dementia to the cemetery

“Oh yeah, every time that dad forgets mom is dead, we head to the cemetery so he can see her gravestone.” WHAT. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard some version of this awful story. Stop taking people with dementia to the cemetery. Seriously. I cringe every single time someone tells me about their “plan”Continue reading “Stop taking people with dementia to the cemetery”

“Can you take me home?”

Verna stood in the hallway, clutching her purse tight to her chest. A blanket was draped over her arm. As soon as she spotted me approaching her, Verna turned. “I need to get home, my mom and dad are waiting for me to eat dinner. Can you take me home?”  Verna was about 90, with brightContinue reading ““Can you take me home?””

Children, Animals, Scary Things: How to handle hallucinations

First, let me say that if your friend with dementia is experiencing hallucinations (seeing or hearing something that isn’t there) they may have another medical issue going on, like a Urinary Tract Infection. However, if their diagnosis is Dementia with Lewy Bodies, or if they have been hallucinating all along, this could be a normalContinue reading “Children, Animals, Scary Things: How to handle hallucinations”

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,Continue reading “Finding Calm in Repetitive Questions”

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