By Pam Kovacs Johnson
It’s important to recognize that ANY kind of testing for recall is especially stressful for a person with Alzheimer’s disease. Last month we addressed feelings associated with AD & achieving desirable emotional outcomes. Caregivers do and say things with the very best intentions. However, quizzing your loved one is not only stressful for them, but can also be embarrassing. It is not helpful.
People with this disease are forgetful, not stupid. They have enough awareness to know that there are a lot of things that they should know. Each day at FP we intentionally publish the menu and activities on the back of the Daily Chronicle to help initiate a possible positive dialogue between you and your loved one. So, instead of asking them to recall something, families can guide the person with AD to a successful response by asking compassionate questions that they have the ability to answer. “Looks like you had chocolate cake for lunch. Was it good?” Or, “I see the dogs were here today. Did you enjoy them?”
Rather than asking your loved one to remember things, which is difficult or sometimes impossible for a person with short term memory loss, help them to maintain their dignity by remembering FOR them. Statements like, “Isn’t our daughter Mary pretty in this photograph?” will yield far better reactions than, “Do you know who this is?” And saying, “Did you have fun listening (or dancing) to Marty Ruiz today?” might just bring a smile or a glimmer of gladness to the end of their day. Subtle changes can go a long way toward helping your loved one feel successful, confident & competent. It always feels really good to help someone else feel good, too.