Strategies for Caring for Someone with Dementia Part 4

Dec 12, 2022 | Nick Rethemeier | @nrethemeier

During the month of November, Mayo Clinic and NBC Universal partnered to honor National Family Caregivers month. This partnership fostered a website called the Caregiver Resource Guide, which provides strategies, tips and support for caregivers of people with a variety of conditions. For the past four weeks, we have shared strategies you can use are you care for someone living with dementia; today, we share the final two.


Say "Yes, and..."

It turns out that the tenets of improv are extremely effective guidposts for communicating with a person with dementia. Those rules include going with the flow, agreeing rather than denying, listening fully, committing 100 percent, accepting the reality given to you and living in the moment. Saying "yes, and...," another improv technique, is a remarkably effective way of engaging a person with dementia in conversation. For instance, if your father begins talking about how he climbed an apple tree across the street as a child that he couldn't possibly have climbed, don't deny it by correcting him. Rather, ask questions about the experience: What was the view like, how it felt to be in the tree. Accepting the reality that the person with dementia is presenting you with is the ultimate way of validating their worth and connecting with them.


Take Guidance

Educating oneself about dementia can lend invaluable insight and perspective to the disease and its progression. This is especially true when the stories of persons with dementia and those who care for them inform the content, as is the case in two recent books. Mayo Clinic on Alzheimer's Disease and Other Dementias, a guide for people with dementia and those who care for them, by Jonathan Graff-Radford, M.D., and Angela M. Lunde, M.A., looks at dementia from medical and personal points of view. Day to Day: Living with Dementia, by Angela M. Lunde, M.A., is a compendium of caregiving guidance that includes practical tips and resources, strategies for managing dementia-related challenges and techniques for navigating emotional stress.

You can view the full list of strategies on the Caregiver Resource Guide website. All information provided is courtesy of Mayo Clinic and NBC Universal (2022).

Interested in more newsfeed posts like this? Go to the Dementia Hub blog.

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