Relating to a person who is coping with Alzheimer’s Disease may seem intimidating. You want your time together to be pleasant and uplifting for both of you and the do’s and don’ts aren’t always obvious.
How to handle an argument
Getting into a squabble with a person who has Alzheimer’s Disease is best avoided. You can’t “set them straight” or force them to remember. In fact, it’s best to avoid disagreements completely. If you sense that a disagreement is brewing, change the subject immediately to something pleasant. Take a deep breath, smile, and take responsibility for changing the direction of the conversation.
If they make an error or say something that is wrong, don’t correct them. Give them an opportunity to save face. If they have a high level of alertness, correcting them will be an unpleasant reminder of their situation and will make them feel terrible. Giving them an “out” is a loving gesture.
The best way to handle an argument is to avoid it, so don’t ask them if they remember something in the past. Even if the event was very recent, the passing of time is difficult for many people with Alzheimer’s Disease to understand, especially as the disease progresses. Reminding them of something that they aren’t able to recall can be embarrassing and cause unnecessary distress.
Focus on the present
In many cases, a person with Alzheimer’s Disease or dementia may believe their loved ones who have passed away are still alive. It isn’t your job to correct them, and doing so will likely cause them great pain. They may not believe you and then become confused. It’s likely that they’ll revert back to their belief that their loved one is still alive after some time passes. Unless they ask you specifically about the status of a loved one that has passed away, it’s best to change the subject.
It may be tempting to try to catch up on current events that used to interest your friend or relative that is living with Alzheimer’s Disease. There’s no reason to bring up topics that may upset them or cause them to feel like they are uniformed. Stay in the present, and focus on what’s happening here and now.
3 Quick Tips:
- Hearing loss and Alzheimer’s Disease are not automatically combined. Unless your loved one has been diagnosed with hearing loss or they specifically ask you to speak up so they can hear you better, keep the tone of your voice calm, quiet, and even.
- Pay attention to body language that may indicate that your visit should come to an end. Agitation, closed arms, and a lack of eye contact may be a sign that it’s time to say goodbye for now.
- When in doubt, smile. Every visit won’t be picture perfect, but your presence, positive attitude, and caring demeanor makes your loved one’s day better. Don’t let a difficult visit keep you from returning soon to try again.
Knowing what to say and what not to say can be difficult and confusing. If you are unsure about how to best communicate with a loved one who has Alzheimer’s Disease, feel free to ask for direction from any of our helpful and well-trained staff here at Sevens Home Care and Sevens Memory Care.