The Caring Corner - Blog

Alzheimer’s Care Tip #8: Never Command/Demand, Instead Ask/Model

By Emma Dickison

Alzheimer's Expert Jo Huey

This is part of an ongoing series of guest blogs written by Jo Huey, the Alzheimer’s Advocate®, founder of the Alzheimer’s Caregiver Institute.

In our last post, we talked about the 7th Absolute of communicating with someone who has Alzheimer’s: Never say, “You can’t,” instead do what they can.

Today, we’ll explore the Eighth Absolute.

#8: Never command/demand, instead ask/model.

These days, it feels like we’re always on the go. Everything is done with such urgency, there never seems to be enough time!

In our “hurry-up” world, years of life can be lost in the blink of an eye.

If you’re caring for someone with Alzheimer’s or a related disorder, you’re probably feeling overwhelmed with the amount of “stuff” you need to get done; however, due to the disease’s progressive nature, your loved one has likely lost all sense of urgency and time.

Understandably, this sense of time conflict can cause tension between you and your loved one. As your patience wanes, your frustration may cause you to take a demanding tone, to which your loved one responds poorly.

home health care

One of the best-known books about Alzheimer’s, “The 36-Hour Day,” sheds light on this topic and offers suggestions on how to best handle these situations.

Remember, actions speak louder than words, and often produce amazing results when dealing with Alzheimer’s.

If you need to go somewhere, try linking arms. This usually works wonders.

If your loved one needs to eat, sit across from them and take a few bites. They’ll be more likely to mimic your actions than heed your words.

If you’d like for them to sit down in the car or on the toilet, try patting the chair. Make eye contact and lean back as if to sit. This will often result in their sitting down.

You’ll quickly find these methods work much better than verbally encouraging, saving both you and your loved one unnecessary frustration.

In our next post, we’ll explore the Ninth Absolute: Never condescend, instead encourage/praise.


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The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of H.H. Franchising Systems, Inc.