HEALTHIER AGING: Helping caregivers cope with a patient's dementia

September 2005 
Volume 35  Number 9
Pages 22 - 22
  PDF Version Available!


LOGIC WON'T WORK. Communicating effectively with a patient who has Alzheimer's disease or another form of dementia is often counterintuitive—the exact opposite of how you'd respond to someone with normal memory and cognition. Offer your patient's caregiver this practical advice.

1. Being reasonable, rational, and logical may just cause trouble . When someone's actions don't make sense, your impulse is to explain the situation, calling on her sense of appropriateness to change the behavior. But a patient with dementia can't understand logical arguments. Straightforward, simple statements about what's going to happen next are usually best. 2. Someone with dementia doesn't need to be grounded in reality . Because of her memory loss, the patient has forgotten important events, such as her mother's death. If she asks to see her mother, reminding her of the death makes her remember the pain of loss. If she insists that she wants ...

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