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How do I help Mom be less confused?

My mom has dementia and currently still lives alone. For the past week she does not realize that she is in her own home. She thinks it is her "old" home although familiar things are around her. In a rare moment she told me that sometimes when she wakes up it takes her a few minutes to "adjust". How or what can I do to help her realize or recognize that she is home. That is the one reason I have tried to keep her at home since it was familiar to her but now I'm not sure.
Status: Open    May 19, 2015 - 09:32 AM

Caregiving, Dementia

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Expert Answers

Sep 24, 2015 - 10:26 AM

I have found working with dementia patients that writing down information and posting notes with their names on them was comforting. These notes or reminders were extremely helpful to make the patient feel like they are in their own home with their surroundings each day. It is important that, if and when their recognition problems are addressed, they should be addressed with respect and dignity in an easygoing manner. Reassure her by placing some of personal objects out for her to see. I personally have found that the patient response extremely well to albums of family and friends.


May 21, 2015 - 06:26 AM

I believe this is the hardest time of dementia, the coming and going of in and out of reality. In this stage I think there are a few things you can do to help her. Validate her 'fear' and confusion by saying "Mom, I know this is a confusing time, but I am here to help you." (She will 'hear' more than your words when you provide empathy). I have often found most folks experiencing dementia feed off the emotions and non-verbal cues of those around them. So being confident in what you say and how you say it without being condescending will validate her beyond belief! She will trust you and follow your lead. She still WANTS to be your parent so providing her tasks she is capable of doing to keep her busy. I worked with one daughter who did her mom's laundry (the buttons were confusing) and left the multiple baskets available to be folded (a job her mother enjoyed).

The second thing I would suggest is begin doing your homework on alternate options in and out of the home. I believe a Senior Living Advisor from A Place for Mom would be beneficial to understand what may be available now, in the future and costs associated with care. As I have told others, I believe in what A Place for Mom does and refer families to them often (another reason I contribute to their forums, they are doing good things for families). They will at least help you lay some groundwork to be prepared.

I have a passion for helping families with dementia and given the right tools and resources the journey can be one of memories and love.

Here are a few links you may find helpful:

The website has chalk full of resources, particularly this piece:

Sep 02, 2015 - 05:10 PM

My mother-in-law lives in apartments next door to our neighborhood. She was becoming increasingly forgetful especially when new events would occur. A professional counselor recommended I put a white board on her refrig. I was already doing a calendar and making lists - so I hesitated to do this. She insisted and I am very surprised what a positive difference it has made. I write on it at least once a week and show upcoming events, going to the library, haircut, doctor and dentist visits. I have also hired a Visiting Angel to take her to appointments when she doesn't need me. This has greatly lessed my burden and she knows she can take her time food shopping every Friday! Try the white board -- it really helps!

Source: Daughter-in-law caregiver (former Family MD)

Sep 07, 2015 - 12:59 PM

Have her make a video of herself for herself. When she is more oriented. Make her surroundings look the same everyday. I hope this helps. Label things and put notes up in places too.

Sep 25, 2015 - 03:02 AM

It is really hard to look after a dementia patient. My mother is suffering from dementia and I can’t manage her sudden mood changes alone. She used to show aggressive nature and throws things when she got angry. Later I sought the help of diamond personnel a well-known nanny placement agency in Calgary and I’m impressed with their service.

You can also contact any nanny services for giving better care for your mom.


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