I. Plan ahead, be prepared.
1. Let family and friends know how they can help.
2. Be open with everyone about behavior changes.
3. Offer and ask for suggestions.
4. Discuss activities and responsibilities. (see IV below).
5. Organize a ‘tag team’ to help share time with their loved one.
i. One person should NOT have total responsibility.
II. Understnad the degree of dementia.
1. Be sure everyone is aware of the situation and is comfortable with responsibilities.
2. Is it ‘early stage’ MCI (mild cognitive impairment).
3. Or a ‘mid stage’ dementia.
4. Speak clearly, avoid long questions with long answers.
5. Keep it simple.
6. DO NOT say ‘Don’t you remember?”
7. DO NOT criticize, stay positive.
8. DO NOT argue, you won’t win.
9. Let them repeat the same comment over and over.
i. Give the same answer with the same enthusiasm.
ii. ‘Did you have to travel far to be here today?’
1. ‘No grandma, just a few miles.’
2. Don’t give a long story about traffic or weather.
10. Most important everyone, BE PATIENT.
III. Plan activities for early in the day. A noon meal instead of dinner.
IV. Does your loved one live with you or will they visit?
1. If visiting, arrange to arrive just before the main event and watch their level of involvement to know when it’s time to leave.
2. If they live at home, try to stay on their routine as much as possible to keep things calm and fun.
3. If things become hectic have activities for the ‘tag team’ to use.
i. Keep old family pictures or albums close by that are familiar and will stimulate a personal conversaion.
ii. If mom always planned and cooked the meal give her an assignment with a ‘tag team’ member to ‘help’.
1. Give her an apron.
2. Set the table, wash dishes, bring prepared dishes to the table, stir mashed potatoes.
a. She made hers’ a certain way…let her tell you.
iii. What did grandpa like to do?
1. Read the paper, tell stories, play with the train set.
a. Did he hunt or fish?
2. Guess what’s in gift packages.
3. Play music, dance, sing.
4. Find their interest and recreate it.
5. If he didn’t have an interst in football DO NOT sit him in front of the TV to watch the games!
6. When in doubt, ask him what he liked and follow his lead.
V. In general:
i. Be aware of this different situation and empower your ‘tag team’.
ii. Use common sense and consider how you’d like o be treated if the circumstances were reversed.