Visiting a loved one with Alzheimer’s can often 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 instead.
3. Visit in small groups. Sometimes one-on-one conversations and visits are best.
4. Give your loved one enough time to respond to questions or directions – do not rush him or her or become frustrated with a slow response.
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 your loved one's 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. For example, instead of calling her “mom,” say her name. Alzheimer’s could cause her to still imagine her kids as little, and now she might think that you're 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 wrong. 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. Just continue responding with answers that are 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 talk about them with other people as if they are not present.
8. 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.
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.
Also consider Respite Care as being a good option when you are the sole caregiver for a loved one with dementia or Alzheimer’s. Respite Care allows you to take time to recharge mentally and physically while feeling confident that your loved one is safe and receiving the best 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 Respite Care, and Alzheimer’s and Dementia Care.