What Should I Avoid Saying to My Parent with Dementia?

By 9  am on

What Shouldn't You Say to a Senior with Dementia in Winnipeg, MB

Meaningful communication can and should continue with a senior loved one who has dementia as the condition progresses. At the same time, it’s important to be aware of how to appropriately adapt to changing behavior. To help you effectively manage this issue, here are some things not to say to a loved one with dementia along with suggestions for what you can say instead.

“That’s Not Right”

When someone has dementia, it’s common for dates, the order of events, and other details to be mixed up or confused. At other times, your loved one may insist something is true when it’s not. If you push back or argue, you could unintentionally cause agitation or worsen confusion. Ignore minor factual errors as long as the gist of what’s being said is clear. In other situations, simply change the subject to a pleasant topic if you’re having a difficult time following what your loved one is trying to say. Caring for a senior loved one can be challenging for families who don’t have expertise or professional training in home care, but this challenge doesn’t have to be faced alone. Family caregivers can turn to Winnipeg Home Care Assistance for the help they need. We provide high-quality live-in and respite care as well as comprehensive Alzheimer’s, dementia, stroke, and Parkinson’s care.

“Do You Remember?”

It’s common to get into the habit of asking this question when talking to an older family member. However, a common issue in the middle and later stages of some forms of dementia is forgetting names, places, and important memories. Your loved one may also mix up who was associated with those memories. Keep your loved one from feeling embarrassed if he or she doesn’t remember things by saying “I remember when …” instead. What this does is give you a chance to fill in the details to see if any memories are sparked in a way that doesn’t put pressure on your loved one to remember. A professional caregiver can provide regular cognitive stimulation that may slow the progress of your loved one’s dementia. Families looking for top-rated homecare providers can reach out to Home Care Assistance. From respite care to specialized Alzheimer’s, dementia, stroke, and Parkinson’s care, there are many ways we can make life easier for seniors and their loved ones.

“I Told You Already”

It’s easy to get into the habit of saying this when someone asks the same question again, especially if you also have kids who sometimes don’t pay attention. But your loved one isn’t likely asking the same thing again because he or she is inattentive. It’s likely because he or she honestly doesn’t recall having already asked it. Be polite and simply repeat what you previously told your loved one. Do so in a calm tone without any frustration in your voice.

“What Do You Want for Dinner?”

Open-ended questions like this can cause confusion for seniors with dementia. Even seemingly simple questions like “What do you want to watch on TV this evening?” may cause distress. Provide a few choices in the question. For instance, you might say “Would you like chicken or fish for dinner tonight?” Another option is to ask simple “yes” or “no” questions.

“We Need to Do This, This, & This …”

Avoid giving too much direction or information or too many commands in a single sentence, as this can lead to confusion, agitation, and frustration. Use simple sentences, but don’t dumb them down. Just stick to one topic or main idea with each thing you say to avoid unintentional confusion.

“That Person Passed Away”

During the later stages of dementia, your loved one may talk about a spouse or other family members who’ve passed away, sometimes many years ago. It’s heartbreaking when this happens, but reminding your loved one that someone is gone could trigger sadness or even outright denial. Gently change the subject. If your loved one does come right out and ask what happened to a family member because he or she hasn’t heard from or seen the individual in a while, be truthful in a way that’s as sensitive as possible. Even when families have the best intentions, caring for a senior loved one with dementia can be challenging. Fortunately, Home Care Assistance is here to help. We are a leading provider of dementia care. Winnipeg families can take advantage of our flexible and customizable care plans, and our caregivers always stay up to date on the latest developments in senior care. Call Home Care Assistance today at (204) 489-6000 to learn about our high-quality in-home care services.

Request Free Information or
Schedule a Free in-Home Consultation