Memory Care FAQ

What is dementia, and how does it affect my loved one’s care?

Dementia is not a single disease, but rather a wider term that refers to a group of symptoms severe enough to cause daily difficulties. Memory, reasoning, mobility, judgment, ability to toilet and feed oneself, and lack of knowledge of time are all indicators of dementia. Dementia can be caused by more than 100 distinct factors.

What causes dementia? Is there a difference between dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease?

Alzheimer’s disease, Lewy Bodies illnesses, Vascular dementia, and Frontotemporal Lobar dementia are the most frequent causes of dementia. However, dementia itself can be caused by a variety of factors.

Why does dementia care require positive communication?

Positive communication can drastically transform how you engage with a dementia-affected loved one. It can make a world of difference in keeping a pleasant, good relationship despite the disease’s progression.

Should I feel guilty about lying to my loved one with dementia?

The most beneficial thing you can do for yourself is eliminating the word “lying” from your vocabulary. Instead, adopt a new term: Embracing Their Reality. This means that we agree with and believe what our loved ones tell us, even if we know that story is false.

Although it may appear that you are lying, keep in mind that a person with dementia does not necessarily live in the same reality as you or me, so what is true for them must also be true for us. Trying to “correct” someone with dementia by arguing with them does not work.

What can I do when my loved one says things that are not true?

When speaking with a loved one, the most important thing you can do is avoid arguing with them. Even if you think you’re “helping” by explaining things to your loved one, he or she will likely not comprehend and become even more irritated as a result.

What is the reasoning behind offering dolls and stuffed toys to individuals with dementia?

Many patients with dementia believe that toys and baby dolls that appear life-like are real. As a result, many people with dementia find that spending time with a doll or stuffed animal provides them with positive energy. Unless the person with dementia does not believe it is real, we always consider the doll or stuffed animal to be real.

When is the best time to visit my loved one in dementia care?

Early afternoon, usually before 2:00 PM, is the best time to visit your loved one. As the day progresses, many individuals with dementia become fatigued, a phenomenon known as “sundowning.” During this period, residents may become worried, angry, upset, and irritable. You may discover that your loved one is more content before 2:00 pm.

What can I do to alleviate the discomfort I feel when I visit?

We understand that it can be difficult to visit a loved one with dementia. He or she may be impatient or easily agitated, but that does mean they do not want to see you. Residents always look forward to seeing their families, but it’s vital to consider what the ideal time is for you and the person you’re seeing.

Try bringing your loved one an item from home, a dish to try, or talk to them about your day to spark conversation.

What’s the best way to say goodbye at the end of my visit?

While some people with dementia are aware that you reside somewhere apart from them, others are not. Please do not tell your loved one that you are “going home,” even when it is difficult to say goodbye after your visit. He or she may not comprehend what you’re saying, but he or she will almost certainly want to accompany you. This might lead to an issue.

Instead, propose an activity he or she can participate in, and then walk away once he or she has become engaged.

You may also talk about something else you need to get done that day and say that you’ll have to leave to finish it. Tell your loved one that you’ll see them soon, but that you need to “go to the store.”

Is it still worth visiting if my loved one doesn’t speak?

It’s possible that your loved one has lost the ability to speak verbally. This is common with dementia, so don’t let it stop you from visiting. Patience is key when dealing with a loved one, as is asking simple “yes or no” questions. Tell him or her about your day, your vacation, or a cherished pet you both know. Just because this person is unable to communicate does not mean they cannot understand you or value your visit.

Should I stop visiting if my loved one doesn’t recognize me?

Please do not stop visiting. It’s fairly common for an individual with dementia to get confused about time, and when this happens, they can mistake you for someone else. Do what you can to go along with their reality and try to make the visit as pleasant as possible. Even if they don’t recognize you, they will still appreciate your time.

What do I do if my loved one’s things keep going missing?

If something goes missing, please notify a member of staff so that they can begin looking for it. The best thing you can do to avoid misplacement of items is to use a black permanent marker to label all of your loved one’s belongings. Also, try to accept that sometimes, things will go missing. Many individuals with dementia pick up items, move them around, and then forget where they put them.

Where can I go to gather more information about dementia?

Blogs: Dementia By Day

“When Someone You Know is Living in a Dementia Care Community” by Rachel Wonderlin, MS
“Making Tough Decisions About End-of-Life Care in Dementia.” by Dr. Anne Kenny

“The 36-Hour Day,” by Dr. Peter Rabins