Communicating With A Loved One Who Has Alzheimer’s

prevent alzheimerWhile on Facebook the other day I saw this list of things not to say to people with Alzheimer’s.  Rather than just repeat it, I would like to give the reasons why we say something a certain way.  Because I find, when I am giving the reason why something should be done a certain way,  I am more dedicated to doing it the correct way.  Plus if this is a parent, you want to give them the respect due them, or as Jesus said,  treat others as you would want others to treat you.

There is the case at times, of having to care for individuals (who are parents) that may not have been the best parents. But in Jesus statement there is this, if this is the case.  We don’t want to reap in the future the negative way we have treated a loved one so we want to treat them kindly.  People may call it karma, but what comes around must go around, reap what you sow is the law of life..

First this was shared by Love Style’s Video.  The first thing said was NEVER ARGUE, INSTEAD AGREE.  Now, why?  I hope you have read my other articles where I told the story of my mother telling my sister that she hadn’t put on any deodorant and my sister said she had.  My mother because of her memory disability couldn’t understand why she would tell her that.  And they almost got into a fight.


What harm would it have been, to let her do it again?  Plus this is not just good for the person (because they will probably forget the incident) but it is good for the caregiver who will not forget the incident.  My sister still talks about it.  My mother doesn’t, she doesn’t remember it happened, so who really got hurt?  the caregiver.


Next was NEVER REASON, INSTEAD DIVERT.  I thought about this one, most people with advanced  Alzheimer’s can’t reason.  But you can divert them to something else, or take them in another direction.  Take for instance, your loved one might say, “you stole my purse”.  Of course you know you didn’t steal the purse, so how do you divert.  You can say, “let’s look for your purse”.  Now they and you are busy solving a problem, not making a bad situation worse.

NEVER SHAME, INSTEAD DISTRACT.  Well on that one, you have to remember the an Alzheimer’s patient’s memory comes and goes.  Wouldn’t be ashame if the little time they have, where they feel normal that we make them feel shame.  Especially on something they may not even remember.



NEVER LECTURE, INSTEAD REASSURE.  Now when you lecture, this is intended to teach.  You are wasting your time lecturing someone with Alzheimer’s.  Their brain is covered with plaque, so even if the brain is firing it can’t be received because of plaque.  I believe people who are lecturing someone with Alzheimer’s need to understand this.  In most cases if a person is lecturing and the other person doesn’t understand than, the caregiver might get angry, or even the patient and that only makes for a very bad situation.  But reassuring helps both involved, it brings out kindness and peace.



NEVER SAY REMEMBER, INSTEAD REMINISCE.  I don’t think this takes a lot to think about.  Alzheimer’s patients, can’t retain new memories, but they remember things that happened years ago.  Even in their early childhood at times.  So going back into the past, is comforting to them.  I just think they have to feel the most comfortable, because that is something they can talk about.  I know my mother would ask me about people that have probably been dead 60 or more years.  I never thought about asking more about the people she remembers.  Would certainly give you a lot of family history.



NEVER SAY, I TOLD YOU, REPEAT/REGROUP.  If you remember that they have a hard time remembering new things, than just continue to repeat what you said.  I found, before I understood what we were dealing with, I would get so frustrated with my mother.  I would say mom I already told you that, instead of just repeating it.  That is why education of this disease is so important.  Because I believe there are Alzheimer’s patients who are being abused because they can’t understand what is being said to them.



NEVER SAY “YOU CAN’T” INSTEAD “DO WHAT YOU CAN”.  I love this one because you are not disabling the person,  you are enabling them and you are letting them do what they remember they can do.  Don’t keep telling them what they can’t do, that  isn’t helping.  I believe letting them try is like retraining their brain.  My mother is still allowed to cook.  She is not told that, she can no longer cook.   I could be wrong, but I just don’t believe in giving up.  Especially, if you are trying the nature things in these articles and they start to work.



NEVER COMMAND/DEMAND INSTEAD ASK/MODEL.  Now I know this one is for the caregiver.  When a caregiver is commanding and demanding, they are in a frustrated state.  This means there could be screaming and just getting out of control.  These poor individuals can’t help that they don’t understand you.  I think the sad thing about this disease, is that the person can look so healthy and normal, and the caregiver forget they are sick.  If like with cancer, you could see them suffering, it wouldn’t be so difficult to understand.  But this is really a case of the lights being out.  Imagine waking up ever so many months, trying to figure out what has happened and phasing out again.  The inner suffering, they must go through, has to be unimaginable to us who don’t have this disease.



NEVER CONDESCEND, INSTEAD ENCOURAGE.  I feel the last paragraph has explained that.  And we are still back to what Jesus said, ” treat others as you would have them treat you”.  If we live long enough we never know what each year has in store for us, because I have learned while doing these articles that Alzheimer’s has affected younger people, it is not just an old person’s disease, it is now a younger person’s disease, too.  When I quoted in my earlier articles that I had found research that one in three people will suffer from Alzheimer’s disease in the future, that could be us, and so we need to be kind to our loved one, or anyone we are taking care of.  Hopefully whoever becomes our caregiver will be kind to us.



NEVER FORCE, INSTEAD REINFORCE.  On this one, remember one thing about Alzheimer’s, is that they can become violent. Forcing can get you hurt.  This is also for the safety of the caregiver and the Alzheimer’s patient.  Reinforcing is gentle and kind.  Actually most the these show kindness and consideration really to both of you.  Because Alzheimer’s causes a lot of stress on the caregiver, so I believe this takes some of the stress off the caregiver too.

So I am hoping this is helpful and encouraging.  I am hoping that it gives some peace to the caregiver and gives them a plan.  Because handling this disease is difficult and you need to sit down and right out a plan of how you can handle situations based on what has already occurred.  Please study Alzheimer’s like any course you will take, to go successfully through life.

If you know people who are dealing with Alzheimer’s please let them know about




Marjorie Edwards

I feel one of the best ways to become good on a subject is to live it. My mother has Alzheimer's. I want people to know how to continue to show respect and love, but not give up thinking there is no way out. So because I have lived with Alzheimer's through my mother and researched it I am able to write informative information.

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