Visiting a loved one with Alzheimer’s can often be a difficult experience that can elicit a variety of emotions. Depending on your loved one’s response and their immediate reactions, the visiting experience can be rewarding and joyful, or it could be sad and frustrating for both you and your loved one. Here are a few helpful do’s and don’ts that can help to make each visit a happy success.
1.Begin by introducing yourself, even if you’re sure that they must know you. If you have to wake them up, try a gentle massage or warm hello.
2. Avoid conversations dealing with the “here and now”. Tap into their pleasant past memories.
3. Visit in small groups. Sometimes one to one is best.
4. Give your loved one enough time to respond to questions or directions – do not rush him or her.
5. Consider the person’s interests and abilities and come prepared with an activity, such as looking through a photo album or listening to music. Also be flexible, you may have to change an activity depending on the mood or the situation.
6. Keep your tone and body language friendly and positive. Speak in a gentle manner and maintain eye contact.
7. Visit as a third person. Instead of calling her “mom”, say her name. The Alzheimer’s could cause her to still imagine her kids as little, and now you might be lying because you can’t be her kid…you’re old!
8. Be ok with sitting in silence, they may enjoy that as much as talking.
1.Don’t force conversation, topics or activities.
2. Don’t say “do you remember?” This can cause anger or embarrassment.
3. Don’t argue or point out mistakes if they say something incorrect. This only makes them feel bad and doesn’t help the situation. Instead try to enter their reality and go with the flow of the conversation.
4. If they ask the same question over and over again, don’t point out they just asked it. Keep your answer short and to the point.
5. Don’t quiz or try to reason with them because it could end up upsetting them and causing frustration.
6. Don’t take mean or nasty things they say personally. Alzheimer’s can twist their words, or make them react badly out of fear, confusion or anger.
7. Don’t get angry or frustrated yourself. Your mood will affect their mood, so stay calm even if there are issues. Always refer to their residence as “home” and a positive place.
8. Don’t talk about them with other people as if they are not present.
Taking the time to learn the ‘do’s and don’ts of visiting a loved one with Alzheimer’s can help you to get the most out of your visits and also make the person with Alzheimer’s feel more comfortable. It is also important to remember that you are a human, and you have good and bad days too. If you need to shorten a visit or even skip one from time to time in order to recharge yourself, remember that is ok.
Respite Care is often a good option when you are the caregiver for a loved one with dementia or Alzheimer’s because you can take time to recharge mentally and physically while feeling confident that your loved one is safe and receiving professional care. If you need additional information or would like to schedule a free in-home consultation to discuss your families in-home care needs, contact us today at 1-844-505-0004. American In-Home Care refers qualified and compassionate care providers that can help with many services, including Personal Care, Live-In Care, Respite Care, and Alzheimer’s and Dementia Care.