As Alzheimer’s Disease or dementia progresses, opportunities to relate in the usual ways decrease and conversations can become increasingly awkward. Family members thrown into dementia care have a history with the loved one, that did not involve memory problems. There is a strong temptation to treat our elderly parents or spouses like children, in our attempts to protect them from doing inappropriate or dangerous things. But often scolding has no lasting effect and only serves to increase hostility in the moment.

Personal caregivers from MinuteWomen, Inc. of Lexngton, MA are experienced in relating to dementia sufferers with compassion and use a non-confrontational approach. This video from Cindy Keith, RN, CDP of MIND in Memory Care describes the 5 things to Avoid as a family caregiver providing dementia care.

Five Actions to Avoid in Dementia Care

In the video, Keith uses real-life scenarios to show how to avoid these unhelpful actions:

  1. Avoid excess noise and activity
  2. Avoid saying “you can’t” too many times
  3. Avoid insisting or nagging
  4. Avoid taking reactions personally
  5. Avoid offering too many choices

A person suffering from memory related illness is not deliberately forgetting rules and social norms; they simply cannot remember or relate to them. It’s up to informal and professional caregivers alike to forge a mutually productive connection.