LEARNING TO LIVE WITH DEMENTIA
When communicating with a dementia sufferer it can be difficult for family members when their loved one no longer remembers things as they are and you may wish to correct their mistaken belief. Although you may feel that you need to correct them in order to fight the progression of dementia this may not always be the best approach to take since it can be incredibly frustrating for the dementia sufferer.
Being continually contradicted can add to the stress and anxiety the sufferer is feeling and, although difficult, it may be kinder to go along with the sufferer’s belief. For example, the sufferer may be convinced that they need to drive to work and ask you where their car keys are; instead of telling the dementia sufferer that they have not driven or had a car in 15 years, you could make a show of trying to find their keys and then try to divert their attention to another topic, eg. a book you have noticed on the table, children playing outside, etc.
By adopting this approach it may be easier to maintain a good relationship with the dementia sufferer since they will not feel as though they are constantly being undermined and can make communication less difficult on both sides. Although you may feel you are contributing to their misinformation, this approach is often better for the sufferer since it allows them to keep their dignity and prevents them from feeling that they are always being challenged by their loved ones.
This approach preserves the dignity of the person with dementia. It makes caring easier, communication less fraught and is kinder.