How can you get a person with dementia to earn your trust?

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I agree with you anne123!! Patience is so very critical!! Before he passed away, my grandmother completely lacked patience with my grandfather, she didn't understand why he behaved the way he did, she couldn't believe that he had an illness that was cause of him acting the way he did so she pretty much refused to "deal" with him other than to make sure he took medication, bathed, was appropriately clothed and ate his meals. My boyfriend and I would come to the house and he would immediately say "Hey Buddy!" to my bf (and "Hey Squirt!" to me) and my bf would sit there for hours talking to him, and most importantly LISTENING to whatever my grandfather had on his mind that particular day. He enjoyed having his "man's talk" time. In general, instead of dismissing some of the "odd" things he would say, I would simply respond that I wasn't aware of that or I didn't know about that and he would then explain whatever it was to me LOL!!! But he got great joy out of still being heard, still being engaged in conversation and definitely he enjoyed giving us all a great laugh with some of his silly little sayings. When he got to the point where he needed to go to a nursing home, there were times when he wouldn't let the attendants bath or dress him, so it was again, his "buddy", my bf to the rescue to do these things for him. My grandmother at some point realized that my grandfather wasn't putting on an act and at that point, she said she "felt sorry" for him. I told her not to feel sorry for him because at the point, he was surrounded by others like him and they all seemed to get along and understand each other. I know that might sound odd but he even used to sit with another lady and they would simply hold hands and chit chat about whatever; I'm not sure either really knew or understood what the other was saying. My bf would visit with him at least twice a week, he would bring his newspaper and was always greeted with the same "Hey Buddy!" and sometimes my grandfather would talk and sometimes he would sit busily figgeting with this lap activity thing while my bf read the newspaper. I feel this was a very special time for him; time for the boys to hang out. So discovering "new" ways to interact with your loved one will help instill trust. Just being there can also make a world of difference, the very presence of people that we know love and care for us has a way of making us feel "good" and I believe that in the midst of dementia that type of feeling good remains awaiting to be stimulated.
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After a number of serious eye-to-eye discussions on the topic, I actually drew up a revocable living trust and durable power of attorney, explaining to my father that this would help both of us if he became incapable of handling his affairs - but he would still be in control right now. Given his health status, he agreed that this was a good plan. I think because he knew I had a "good head on my shoulder," he went along with me. So, I dragged him around, making him sign this and that paper for the RLT. As it were, within a year he needed to be moved to AL. I saw it coming and had to make sure things were "in place" for what was to come. I was not going to be one of those adult children who remained in denial and pretended that dad was okay.....because he clearly was NOT. It would have been irresponsible for me to igore the situation.
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I think it helps to look them in the eye. Also it helps to hear them out.....patiently listen when they are expressing themselves.
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