Ten Tips for Approaching Someone with Alzheimer’s

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When approaching a person with Alzheimer’s, it is important to approach with compassion and care. People tend to be unaware how to act around someone who has Alzheimer’s and this may cause people to refrain from visiting their loved ones that have the disease. Elderly people that have dementia may not remember those closest to them. They may be confused about what is going on. Family members tend to feel uncomfortable and saddened to hear the words, “Who are you?” while visiting those loved ones that have been closest to them.

The following are ten Alzheimer’s tips that will help when visiting a loved one that has the disease.

  1. Go slow and give the person time to notice you before you approach them.
  2. Sit next to them not in front of them. If you sit in front of them, they may feel threatened when they become confused.
  3. Maintain eye contact so the person with Alzheimer’s can see you before you speak to them.
  4. Greet them kindly and tell them your name. This will help them confirm who you are even if they are confused at first.
  5. While having conversation, keep questions simple. Patiently wait for a response and if a response doesn’t come, then rephrase the question or ask something else.
  6. Speak about the past. Those with Alzheimer’s forget more recent memories and remember past ones.
  7. Refrain from saying, “Remember when?” It is best to start with “I remember when.” This makes the conversation about feelings instead of memories or events.
  8. Bring along pictures, momentos, and letters to start conversation and spark interest.
  9. Limit the amount of people that come to visit at one time, especially children. Too many people can cause them to get confused.
  10. Always smile and be cheerful. This makes it easy for the Alzheimer’s patient to respond to you.

Alzheimer’s patients enjoy visitors, particularly if they were social before they became ill. If they don’t remember much, don’t get discouraged. It requires time and patience for the Alzheimer’s patient to feel comfortable and no longer be confused by visitors. Always remember it is the disease causing them to behave different and have mood swings so don’t take it personally if they don’t remember you. For more information, please call us at 502.240.6464. Or request information here.