January 2021 Newsletter

Sending you strength and calm as we all endure the situations brought to each of
us by COVID-19.

“Dementia Mini Series” Part 7
Don’t Tell ME What to Do!!

Welcome to the seventh in the series focusing on talking with a loved one who has short-term memory loss. Learning communication tips will help make the time together successful.

Don’t Tell ME What to Do!!

Caring sometimes sounds like demanding. Simple tasks like eating, changing clothes and brushing hair provide opportunities for us to convey messages using words that often are interpreted by a person with short-term memory loss as an assault on their independence.

Phrases such as “You need to (eat)” and “You have to (change clothes)” and “I told you to (brush your hair)” can very quickly result in feelings of failure and anxiety. Those feelings often start the ball rolling in the wrong direction!

If the decision isn’t life-threatening allow them to maintain their independence by asking them what they would like rather than telling them what they have to do.

Phrases such as:

  • “I’m hungry for (a food they like), I’ll make you some soon, OK?”
  • “I think I’ll wear my red sweater today, would you like your favorite blue sweater today?”
  • “I feel so good when my hair is all going in the right direction. Let’s brush our hair together, here’s our brushes.”
  • “Do you think it’s better to brush the hair on the sides of your head first?”
  • “I’m not sure the soup is warm enough, would you have time to taste it for me?”
  • “I was thinking your blouse with the flowers on it certainly makes your eyes sparkle. Would you consider wearing it for me?”

If you sense they aren’t buying what you are selling, stop. Their eyes will tell you when they are done with the conversation. If they feel they are a part of the decision you’ll have a better chance of returning to the topic later.

Reducing confrontations over little issues will give you more energy to handle the bigger challenges.

You will be creating the tools you can use to make every exchange with them enjoyable and peaceful. Need a place to record those memories? Take a look at my Book and DVD Bundle.

If you haven’t had a chance to watch my video about Talking with People with Dementia give it a look. If you have already seen it and found it helpful share this link.
Click here for the YouTube Video

Our Thanks

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Diana and her Mom Iona