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What Is It Like to Have Dementia?

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Dementia is an overall term for diseases and conditions that are characterized by a decline in memory, language and other thinking skills that interfere with a person’s ability to take part in everyday activities. Someone that has dementia feels confused most of the time and may not be able to make sense of the world around them. They often get frustrated or angry with themselves when they try to remember things and become angry with people that struggle to communicate with them. When your parent is diagnosed with dementia, it may become hard to understand them, and you may not know how to effectively communicate with them. Read the following phrases to avoid when speaking with someone that has dementia to get a better understanding on how to start the conversation with them.

What Not to Say to Someone with Dementia

It can sometimes be difficult and emotionally draining when you attempt to speak to your parent that has dementia. Alzheimer’s disease and dementia can lead to conversations that might not make sense, seem inappropriate or uncomfortable and make you upset. It’s your job to adapt to your parent’s behavior and ultimately understand that their condition doesn’t change who they are. Here are some things you should not say to your parent with dementia to avoid any uncomfortable conversations.

  1. “You’re Wrong.” This may seem like common sense, but you may find it incredibly hard to go along with something your parent says that is not true. There is no benefit to arguing with your parent over something they said, and it’s best to avoid upsetting them as they are already in a vulnerable emotional state.
  2. “Do You Remember?” This is a common question you might ask your parent without even noticing. When you ask your parent this, the answer will most likely be no. Memory loss is the most common symptom of dementia and asking if your parent remembers something can lead to embarrassment and sadness as they realize they’ve lost memories.
  3. “I Already Told You.” Having to repeat yourself should be expected when you’re communicating with your parent. You will probably find yourself telling your parent the same thing over and over again. Try to be patient with them and avoid saying you’ve already told them the thing they’ve forgotten, as this could be hurtful and remind your parent of the disease that is confusing them.
  4. “What Do You Want to Eat?” You should try and avoid open-ended questions when talking with your parent. These questions can cause a lot of stress for your parent and they may have trouble forming an answer. Avoiding open-ended questions will take pressure off your parent, as they won’t be forced to make a decision.
  5. “Do You Recognize Me?” It can make you upset if you start to notice that your parent doesn’t recognize you. Try to avoid asking them if they know who you are, as this can make them feel guilty if they aren’t sure. Instead try to greet your parent warmly and maybe re-introduce yourself by stating your name.

Receive a Fresh Perspective on Memory Care at Peregrine Senior Living

At Peregrine Senior Living, we’re redefining dementia and Alzheimer’s care to ensure that you can experience what makes your parent unique for as long as possible. The Peregrine Way™ is our unique approach to memory care that works to improve the quality of life for our residents and their family members. We believe that just because someone is in need of memory care, doesn’t mean that has to be the end of their personal growth. Our memory care community aims to stimulate and connect with your parent through personalized support designed just for them.

As part of The Peregrine Way™, we offer opportunities that will help stimulate your parent’s mind and body. Contact us today to learn more about our approach to memory care.

Written by
Stephen Sarsfield Bowman

More Articles By
Stephen Sarsfield Bowman

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