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 […]

Dementia gives us gifts, let’s not reject them

It had been six months since I’d seen Dot, my favorite resident. Dot was what I like to call “pleasantly confused.” She was in her mid-90s, had Alzheimer’s, and just enjoyed everything. One thing that I remember about Dot was that she missed her husband a lot. They had been married for decades, and his passing […]

“You’re not my son.”

Alicia danced down the hallway, both hands steadily on her walker. She moved her hips from side to side, singing a little song, and smiled at everyone she passed. Her son, Nick, was walking next to her.  Nick was probably one of the best caregivers I’d ever met. It wasn’t just that he visited his […]

“Dad, do you remember my name?”

Oh, please don’t ask him that, I thought to myself. The old man stood in the doorway, smiling, confused; an uncertain grin, looking at his two sons and daughter-in-law. “Dad, don’t you remember me?” the one son repeated again. “He doesn’t know what year it is,” I whispered under my breath, unsure of who I […]

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