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Carla Cares: Carers Advice Column

Q: My mum has recently been diagnosed with dementia and I’m finding it difficult to know how to respond when she behaves out of character or says things that I know aren’t true. I was wondering if there is anything I can read or any training I could do that might help me learn how to deal with this?

Many carers find it difficult to know what to do when a loved one with dementia begins to act differently. We’ve put together some advice for communicating and where to find more information.

Try to make sure you’re being as clear as possible when speaking to someone with dementia.

  • Use names, i.e. saying ‘it’s me, Jane,’ rather than ‘it’s me.’
  • Speak in a warm tone and give them extra time to respond to you.
  • Try giving options instead of open questions, such as ‘would you like chicken or beef for dinner?’ rather than ‘what would you like for dinner?’
  • Use non-verbal cues like pictures and touch.
  • Don’t quibble over mistakes or even delusions the person might have, instead try deflecting to a new topic.

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