This is part of an ongoing series of guest blogs written by Jo Huey, the Alzheimer’s Advocate®, founder of the Alzheimer’s Caregiver Institute.
In our last post, we talked about the 8th Absolute of communicating with someone who has Alzheimer’s: Never command/demand, instead ask/model.
Today, we’ll explore the Ninth Absolute.
#9: Never Condescend, Instead Encourage/Praise.
When caring for someone with Alzheimer’s or dementia, you may find yourself excluding them from conversations concerning their health and wellbeing, as if they’re not there.
We tend to think the only way to explain the situation to family, friends, and/or physicians is to talk about the person with Alzheimer’sas though they are invisible.
Not only can this hurt your loved one’s feelings, but it can result in aggression toward the provider of care.
Rather than excluding your loved one from the conversation, make a conscious effort to include them. Stand or sit next to them, and allow them to be a clear part of the conversation. It’s often helpful to link arms or hold their hand when you speak to the other person.
For example, say, “Dr. Brown, John said he’s feeling fine and doing well, but he asked me to make sure I mentioned to you that he has been having a lot of trouble sleeping lately.” Or when talking to family or friends, “Jane, John said he really enjoys your company, and he asked that we wait for you to eat breakfast. He’d also like you to help him with his medications and getting ready for the day.”
In our next post, we’ll explore the Tenth Absolute: Never force, instead reinforce.
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The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of H.H. Franchising Systems, Inc.