Dementia: Compassionate Communication

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I was sorting out some of my paperwork on dementia yesterday and came across ‘Compassionate Communication with the Memory Impaired’ by Liz Aires.  I scanned it again at the time and hope I remembered the basics at 2 ‘o’ clock this morning when Maureen woke and demanded to know why I was in her bed:

Compassionate Communication with the Memory Impaired

by Liz Ayres
A Volunteer of the Alzheimer’s Association and Former Caregiver

DON’T
Don’t reason.
Don’t argue.
Don’t confront.
Don’t remind them they forget.
Don’t question recent memory.
Don’t take it personally.

DO
Give short, one sentence explanations.
Allow plenty of time for comprehension, then triple it.
Repeat instructions or sentences exactly the same way.
Eliminate ‘but’ from your vocabulary; substitute ‘nevertheless.’
Avoid insistence. Try again later
Agree with them or distract them to a different subject or activity
Accept blame when something’s wrong (even if it’s fantasy).
Leave the room, if necessary, to avoid confrontations.
Respond to feelings rather than words
Be patient and cheerful and reassuring. Do go with the flow.
Practice 100% forgiveness. Memory loss progresses daily.
My appeal to you: Please.elevate your level of generosity and graciousness.

Maureen’s response to my explanations was to suggest divorce if I wanted to behave like a teenager and get into bed with anybody!

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About Remember Me

I am a retired adult educator. My wife had a stroke in February 2014 and now has mixed dementia. Her recovery from stroke has been exceptional apart from 50% loss of peripheral vision and vascular damage. 'Dharma For Dementia' is my approach to being Maureem's Care Partner: it aims to end the suffering of 'Prescribed Disengagement' (Swaffer) .
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4 Responses to Dementia: Compassionate Communication

  1. AmazingSusan says:

    yes, these are the principles to live by. tough to do sometimes though!

    Like

  2. Very useful tips, though we may not be able to follow all of these at all the times. We may blunder on many occasions, but if our intention is good I think in the long run result will be good.

    Like

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