Are you taking care of someone with Alzheimers symptoms or another dementia?
One of the questions that is hard to answer is the simple question, “Why?”
If you’ve ever taken care of a young child, you know at a certain age usually around 3, it’s her favorite question. And it can be one of the most frustrating for an adult.
Usually about the time the child asks a question like, “Why is the sky blue?”
Before launching into a scientific explanation, remember this is a young child. “Because God made it blue” or just “because” may be enough of an answer.
And the flip side of the question is that answering it takes quite a bit of reasoning.
Questions like -
- “Why are you angry?”
- “Why are you yelling?”
- “Why ___”
All these questions require insight and reasoning skills someone with dementia may have lost.
Do you see how the question “Why?” really is too hard for someone with Alzheimer’s?
So what are some alternatives? Instead of asking “Why?” try -
- Where? and
And all these questions need to be asked calmly and slowly, with respect. Be as specific as possible, to decrease her confusion and help her focus on the problem.
Depending upon how advanced the dementia, you may need to focus even further. “Do you want to wear pink or green today?” may be easier to answer than “What do you want to wear?”
With patience and practice, you can indeed find alternatives to “Why?” and asking them in a non-threatening, comforting tone and using loving words can get you better answers. And reduce your stress.
Finding the right words is one of the hidden minefields in caregiving.
And when you’re up to your neck in stress, it’s hard to find your way out of the minefield alone.
Does that describe how you sometimes feel?
A caregiver needs a road map to help navigate the caregiving wilderness.
Now there’s a road map you can instantly download to help you get through caregiving. To more than get through it – to thrive in caregiving.
And start finding caregiving healthier, happier and more enjoyable. Right now.
To your healthy and happy caregiving,
Ina Gilmore, M.D. (Retired)
“The Knitting Dr.”
Bestselling Author of “What Do I Say In a Sympathy Card?”
Creator of A HEART PLAN
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