How to Talk to People with Alzheimer’s

There was a time when caregivers tried orienting people with dementia to reality. That often feels like the natural thing to do. But at Daylesford Crossing, an assisted-living facility in Paoli, workers are more likely to just go with it if a resident has some strange ideas. Let’s say Mom or Grandma is furiously accusing her neighbor of stealing something. Your first impulse may be to defend the neighbor, but that would just make things worse, said Kathleen Douglass, administrator and dementia specialist at Sage Senior Living, which opened Daylesford five months ago. “I’m sorry that happened to you,” is a better answer, she said. Then you can show you’ve heard the emotion. “You seem really angry. I would be angry too if that happened.” It’s time to give up thinking your truth and rationality will change the mind of someone with dementia. “Teepa Snow, originator of this positive approach to care,” was in Daylesford this month to train about 50 staffers from Sage facilities and some family members in her principles. Snow demonstrated how brain damage from dementia affects behavior and offered hands-on tips to help caregivers fill in the gaps. Snow’s goal is to help caregivers make use of what’s still working in the brain and compensate for what isn’t.

Source/more: Philadelphia Inquirer


David Wingate is an elder law attorney at the Elder Law Office of David Wingate, LLC. The elder law office services clients with powers of attorneys, living wills, Wills, Trusts, Medicaid and asset protection. The Elder Law office has locations in Frederick and Montgomery Counties, Maryland.

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