When a person has memory impairment due to Alzheimer’s or other types of dementia they need to keep active and stimulate what they have left. Knowing how to communicate appropriately is very important. If a person does not relate correctly it can cause undo stress for the memory impaired individual and often cause behavioral issues.
Here are five (5) things you should never say to a person with memory impairment –
- Don’t Tell Them They’re Wrong About Something: To let the person save face it’s best not to contradict or correct them if they say something wrong.
- Don’t Argue With the Person: It’s never a good idea to argue with a person who has dementia. You will never win and only upset them.
- Don’t Ask if They Remember Something: When talking with a person who has Alzheimer’s it’s so tempting to ask if they remember some person or event, “What did you have for lunch?” What is the date today? Of course they don’t remember, they have dementia that has damaged their brain so that they cannot remember.
- Don’t Remind the Person that a Loved One is Dead: It’s not uncommon for people with dementia to believe their deceased spouse, parent or other loved one is still alive. They may be confused or feel hurt that the person doesn’t come to visit. If you inform them that the person is dead, they might not believe it and become angry with you.. Also, they might grieve all over again.
- Don’t Bring Up Other Topics That May Upset them: There’s no reason to bring up topics you know may upset your loved one.
Additional Resources: Alzheimer’s Society: Communicating with someone with memory loss