Dementia Caregiver Dos and Don’ts
Do embrace their reality.
Do tell them, while you don’t believe it’s true. You will “look into it for them.”
Do use redirection and distraction: These ideas mean that when a person with dementia presents an untrue fact or belief, you redirect the conversation or change it entirely.
Do throw out the word “lying” and replace it with entering the truth of their reality.
Make share music. It reduces anxiety and stress while increasing attention, motivation, and focus.
Do find a care partner who is person-centered, responsive, and recognizes the value of non-drug options.
Do include the person living with dementia. They feel more empowered, have less frustration, and their behaviors decrease.
Do take care of yourself as the care partner. People living with dementia respond to their care partner’s stress with increased behaviors.
Do ask for help.
Do have a social life and be sure some of it is in real life.
Do take care of the legal and financial stuff soon to avoid issues later.
Do make sure to attend a support group.
Do be aware of underlying feelings and alert for triggers, infections, hidden injuries, and other discomforting situations.
Do take likes, dislikes, and needs into consideration.
Do recognize acting-out behavior as “stress-related communication,” a call for help, and the start of a two-way conversation.
Do let go of old expectations and accept change.
Do say “yes” as long as you can do so safely, suspend your reality and accept theirs.
Do realize there are no mistakes. Just try again and relax.
Do laugh and smile as often as you can.
Don’t assert your own reality on the person living with dementia.
Don’t tell a person with dementia about a loss because it is unfair when they can’t grieve it properly.