IL Estate Planning Blog

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

How to be a Friend to Someone Living With Dementia

By Clare Ansberry, Wall Street Journal, October 28, 2019


How to be a Friend to Someone Living With Dementia
* Educate yourself. There are many stages and kinds of dementia, including Alzheimer’s,
which manifest themselves differently in different people.

* Be there. Call and invite your friend to do activities you both enjoy, whether it’s fishing, shopping or
going out to lunch or to the museum.

* Ask what they are comfortable doing and what they need help with. They may need a ride or help
mowing the lawn, shopping or cooking a meal.

* Talk directly to your friend, not to their spouse or partner. Make eye contact. Let them know it’s wonderful
to see them.

* Be patient. If someone asks a question repeatedly, don’t point that out. Just answer. Give them plenty
of time and space for responses. They may be working hard to think about what they want to say.

* Don’t correct or argue if they say something that isn’t accurate. That can add to feelings of
embarrassment and frustration.

* Offer reminders. If your friend looks confused, give your name and connection. “Our kids played
baseball together.”

* Don’t ask a series of questions, which can be confusing. Avoid questions like “What did you do today?”
which require short-term memory and can be frustrating for someone with dementia. Better to ask
questions that someone in any stage can answer and that show you care, like, “How do you feel today?”

* If going out, avoid loud, crowded places. They can be overwhelming.

* Touch is important. Hug. Offer a gentle touch on the arm or hand or shoulder. People with dementia
sometimes feel others are afraid of them.

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