By: Jill Springer and Anita Martin, Woodstone of Hutchinson
Almost all of us know someone who is suffering from Alzheimer’s or some form of dementia. If it’s someone very close to you, like a spouse or a parent, watching the disease progress can be very stressful and difficult. But it can also be a little scary to try and visit with someone who has dementia when you haven’t seen them in a while and you are not sure what to expect.
Here are some pointers on how to visit with someone who has dementia:
- Always introduce yourself. It may seem odd at first to introduce yourself to someone you’ve known for years, or even your whole life, but it can really help with confusion if you just say, “Hi Grandpa! It’s me, Amy. How are you today?”
- Wait until you are close to your loved one and in front of them before starting to speak. It can be startling and confusing if you start talking before they can see you.
- Be patient. If may take some time for your loved one to find the words.
- Stay open minded! The conversation may take some twists and turns and it is best not to correct and try to go back to what you were talking about. Just go with the flow and ask them to tell you more about whatever topic they want to discuss.
It is also very important to not get offended or sad if your loved one gets angry. It is very likely that what they say they are angry about isn’t actually what is upsetting them. Rather, they are upset because they are trying to say or do something but are unable to articulate what it is.
Finally, keep visiting!! Each time you visit will be an adventure, so remember to come without an agenda. Stay relaxed and go with the flow and your visits are sure to be a success!