Never ask someone with dementia 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 […]

What if I visit and he doesn’t know who I am?

Care partners regularly ask me about one of their deepest fears. The fear usually goes like this: at some point, you’ll walk in to visit your loved one, and that person will look at you with a blank stare. “Who are you?” they’ll ask you, as your own eyes fill with tears. Here’s the good news: this fear […]

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 from […]

Where’s my wife?

Arnold was very easy to talk to. He was friendly, had a good sense of humor, and liked to sing along with the music coming over the radio. Arnold, overall, was pretty “with it” for someone with moderate Alzheimer’s. That’s why I was surprised when he wheeled past me and asked, “Have you seen my wife?”  I […]

An Empty Couch.

It’s easy to underestimate the amount that people with dementia rely on each other for companionship.  While my residents usually seem to “forget” their new friends after these people die or move away, they do not forget the connection. Often, after a pair of residents is separated by death or by distance, the one left behind […]

Red Roses…for a Blue Lady

“I found my thrill…” I started. “On blueberry hill,” the group answered. It is astounding what the brain can recall, even when that brain is damaged by dementia. My residents love playing “Finish Line Sayings,” which is a game where I read the first part of a lyric or popular saying and they fill in […]

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