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5 Do's When Visiting Someone with Dementia

Updated: Feb 26, 2019

Are you dealing with a new dementia diagnosis in your family? Are you unsure of what to say or how to act when visiting? It's okay to feel a little uneasy about everything. This is something that will take some time to adjust to. If you're not the primary caregiver for a loved one with dementia, or if you haven't spent a lot of time around this person since their diagnosis, there may be some changes that you want to prepare for. Below are five quick tips for interacting with an individual who has dementia.

1. First off, visit as often as you can. I’ve heard a lot of people say, “they don’t know who I am anyway so why should I visit?” To that, I usually answer with “do you know who they are?” The thing here is that it doesn’t matter if they don’t remember you. Your visit isn't necessarily about you. If you can provide some comfort and peace to their day, that's what will make your visit worthwhile!

2. Smile when you see them. Isn’t it nice when you see someone you haven’t seen in a while and they smile when they see you? Relax your facial expression and try to smile even if their expression doesn't match yours.

3. Be at eye level when talking with them. One of the symptoms that some experience is increased paranoia, so if you come into a room and a stand over them, it may be threatening or scary for them. Being at eye level can help prevent some confusion, since they'll be able to see that you're the one talking with them.

4. Hold their hand, shake their hand, or just touch them when you see them. A loving touch from you to your loved one can speak volumes.

5. Use a gentle voice when you visit them. They may be sensitive to loud noises or sharp sounds, which can heighten their anxiety in situations where they're . Just be sure to speak loud enough for them to hear you.

I hope some of these ideas can be helpful when knowing what to DO with those living with Dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. It doesn’t take much to “step into their world”, but it adds so much more to your visit.

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