PSA for those whose loved ones have dementia: Stop taking people with
dementia to the cemetery
On yeah, every time that dad forgets mom is dead, we head to the cemetery so
he can see her gravestone.
WHAT I can't tell you how many times I've heard some version of this
awful story. Stop taking people with dementia to the cemetery Seniously, I
cringe every single time someone tells me about their plan" to remind a loved
one that their loved one is dead
I also hear this a lot: 1 keep reminding mom that her sister is dead, and
sometimes she recalls it once I've said it. That's still not a good thing. Why are
we trying to force people to remember that their loved ones have passed away?
If your loved one with dementia has lost track of their timeline, and forgoten that
a loved one is dead, don't remind them. What's the point of reintroducing that
kind of pain? Here's the thing they will forget again, and they will ask again.
You're never, ever, ever, going to "convince them of something permanently
Instead, do this
Dad, where do you think mom is?
When he tells you the answer, repeat that answer to him and assert that it
sounds correct. For example, it he says, "1 think mom is at work,"say, "Yes, that
sounds right, I think she must be at work. it he says, 1 think she passed away
say, Yes, she passed away
People like the answer that they gave you. Also, it takes you off the hook
to come up with something" that satisfies them. Then, twenty minutes later
when they ask where mom is, repeat what they originally told you
I support this sentiment. Repeatedly reminding someone with faulty memory that
a loved one has died isn't a kindness, it's a cruelty. They have to relieve the loss
every time, even if they don't remember the grief 15 minutes later
In other words, don't try to impose your timeline on them in order to make
yourself feel better. Correcting an afflicted dementia patient will not cure them
They won't magically return to your real world'. No matter how much you might
want them to.
It's a kindness of old age, forgetting. Life can be very painful. Don't be the one
ripping off the bandage every single time
I used to work as a companion in a nursing home where one of the patients was
CONVINCED I was her sister, who'd died 40 years earlier. And every time one of
the nurses said דhat's not Janet, Janet is dead, Alice, remember?" Alice would
So finally one day Alice did the whole JANET IS HERE and this nurse rather
nastily went Janet is dead and before it could go any furtherI said "excuse
mer?? How dare you say something so horrible to my sister?"
The nurse was pissed, because I was feeding Alice's delusions. Alice didn't
have delusions. Alice had Alzheimer's.
But I made sure it went into Alice's chart that she responded positively to being
allowed to believe I was Janet. And from that point forward, only my specific
patient referred to me as-Nina. in front of Alice-everyone else called me Janet.
and when Alice said my name wasn't Nina I just said "oh, it's a nickname, that's
all."It kept her calm and happy and not sobbing every time she saw me
It costs zero dollars (and maybe a little bit of fast thinking) to not be an asshole
to someone wah Alzheimer's or dementia. Be kind
I wish I had heard this stuft when Grandma was still here
I read once that you have to treat dementia patilents more like it's improv, like
you have to take what they say and say to yourself ok, and" and give them
more of a story to occupy them and not just shut it down with something super
A nurse I used to work with always told us: Tf a man with dementia is trying to
get out of bed to go to work, don't tell him he's 90 and in a nursing home. Tell
him it's Sunday and he can stay in bed. If a woman with dementia is trying to
stand because she wants to get her husband's dinner out of the oven, don't tel
her he's been dead for 20 years. Tell her you'll do for her and she can sit back
Always remembered that, always did it. Nothing worse than hearing someone
with memory loss ask the same question over and over again only to be met
with: "We already told youl"
Just tell them again
I've worked with elderly dementia patients, and I agree with all the above. Treat
them as you'd like to be treated in the same situation
Same. I've worked with patients like these and even my grandma was convinced
for a day that I was my aunt. Just roll with it
My go-to response to someone asking if I've seen a dead loved one is "I haven't
seen them today, but if I do I'll let them know you were looking for them. Cause
you know what, if I DID see them I wouild tell them, so it always comes out
PSA for those whose loved ones have dementia