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What should I not say to someone with Alzheimer's?

My aunt was recently diagnosed, I don't see any signs of memory loss but I find it hard to act normally around her.
Status: Open    Apr 07, 2015 - 05:52 AM


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6 answers


Apr 19, 2015 - 12:41 PM

Act normally. There is no reason to act differently - at least at this point. As time goes on, you will learn how to respond to changing behaviors and be better equipped to help her along.

Apr 20, 2015 - 03:28 PM

I have found it is difficult to be logical with my aunt who is a dementia/alzheimer's patient. She does not want to hear logical explanations, or to be corrected. So you will have to play it by hear and see how receptive your aunt is to the things you say. If you get a negative reaction/no reaction, then you can guess that is not something to say to your aunt.

May 07, 2015 - 11:46 AM

Acting 'normally' is relative to the situation. The demeanor and attitude of someone with memory loss can vary from one minute to the next, but deep down they are still a human being and have the some wants and needs as anyone, they are just often unable to express these needs. I encourage families to meet their loved one in their 'reality' whatever and wherever that might be. Using a type of re-direction technique is helpful. If a loved one is seeking out someone who has long been deceased it can be helpful to reference memories about that person, ask them what they enjoy most about the person they are seeking out, etc. Bringing them to our 'reality, our present' is often difficult and very frustrating for someone with memory loss. I wonder what it would feel like all day to be told 'that is wrong,' ....'that didn't happen....' 'you can't remember anymore.....' Being positive and using the memory they do have to remember the good times can be helpful and leave the the person feeling uplifted and validated. If it doesn't work the first time, try and try again, each moment is new for someone with memory loss.


Sep 14, 2015 - 08:58 AM

Perhaps thinking of the "Golden Rule" may help you understand your Aunt. My mother and I were very close and worked together in our business. At first, when the symptoms arose, I didn't understand and I would get upset. Finally, I had to place her in a facility that was locked, since she is a wanderer.
I think of people with Alzheimer's as children. You would not expect a child to understand all the facts of "reasoning". Love, kindness, and patience work wonders. Anymore, I just go with the flow. Whatever subject she is on, I go along on a positive note. If she begins to worry about anything, I direct her in a positive direction to make her feel secure. I do not visit my mother every day because it does take quite a toll on me to see her in the mental state she is in. So, remember to be kind to your Aund and don't forget to take care of yourself too. If she should need to be placed in a facility, do your homework. Google can reveal a lot of information. The place my mom is in is great. I thought of placing her somewhere else because of cost. What I found out with a few hours of research was quite disconcerting about some places.
Long story short, don't say negative things to your Aunt. Don't correct her and definitely do not unwittingly berate her. She has no control over the loss of her memories. Use what time you have with her to be positive and kind. Though she may not be able to express her gratitude, the moments of a pleasant encounter are invaluable. Good Luck to All!

Oct 07, 2015 - 03:37 PM

I have been dealing with my 93-year old father living with me for the past 10 months (since my Mom passed away). He has beginning dementia and depression. Every day is a challenge. He has good days and bad days. On his bad days, he becomes confrontational, almost looking for an argument/fight. He seems to only do it with me (his caregiver). He'll ask me a question, and no matter how I answer it, he takes offense to it and starts being really nasty to me. I've learned that it's best just to walk away. I've learned that you can't rationalize with him when he gets like that, and I try not to take it personally. I know it's the disease. My Father was always the nicest, happiest, friendliest person you could ever meet. This is a horrible illness. I've learned to take it a day at a time.

Nov 17, 2015 - 07:59 PM

You need to save yourself a lot of peace of mind. DON'T try to rationalize a person with any kind of dementia. Remember their mindset is that of a young child...and we all know reasoning it's a child is almost if impossible. Stay in the moment with them, but don't let things escalate to a standoff. You will remember the confrontation.... He might forget it in 15 min or less. Try to redirect ....change the conversation to something that hopefully won't push his buttons. Then if you know he is safe,walk away for a few minutes and collect yourself. Also, as hard as it sounds, don't take it are right, it' the disease and he doesn't have any control of situations. Some of the stubborness is his way of asserting what little control he has over his life (or what he thinks he has). pick battles...soon there won't be any battles to pick because he won't be able to express himself. Good luck.
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