How do you talk to this person without getting mad? I'm always wrong and when I try to talk, she just gets madder. How do I communicate? As of now it's getting worse.

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Go along to get along. It’s the easiest way. It goes against many of our own human natures because we instinctively want to help and “fix” people. I have found that not correcting and not asking/demanding my father to remember gets the best results. Asking someone to remember when they can’t is like telling a tense person to relax. Both with get anxious and frustrated.

For instance, he looked me square in the face and said “That Pittsburgh you bought was really delicious”. I had zero idea what he was talking about so I just said, “Oh good, I’m so glad you liked it.” He walked away happy and I was left to wonder what he could possibly mean. With some thinking I think he was talking about the honey baked ham I served him on Christmas Eve, even though he said it about a week after Christmas. But standing there grilling him on what he meant would have done nothing for him or me.

When he is looking for something and can’t find the right word for the object I just pretend to look with him and then say “Well, I’m sure it’s here somewhere. It will turn up when I’m cleaning.” And then divert to something else.

Sometimes he will have his phone in his hand and be yelling he can’t find his phone. He thinks it’s the TV remote, or is looking for something else entirely but calling it a phone. I will call his phone from my phone and if it is his phone he is looking for that will solve it. Otherwise I just say, “ I can’t find stuff all the time. It will turn up.”

BUT I put my foot down at yelling and screaming. I know his brain is broken but I will not be yelled at. Especially when I am just trying to help him gently through whatever the episode of the hour is. So I say calmly, “I’m not sure if you can hear how loud you are getting, but you must stop yelling at me.” If he doesn’t, I walk away and tell him I won’t help him further until he stops yelling, that I will NOT be yelled at. Sometimes he stops, sometimes he keeps yelling and I walk away and he just sits on the couch in an huff until it passes.

It’s a tough journey. I find the path of least resistance better for me and him.
Helpful Answer (11)
Reply to Caregiverstress

Being 80 years old yourself, this cannot be an easy thing to be caring for your wife who's suffering from Alzheimers/dementia which is EXTREMELY difficult to deal with every day. I'm so sorry you're suffering right along with her. I do think you should consider placing her in Memory Care Assisted Living if her care becomes too much for you.

I suggest you read this 33 page booklet which has the best information ever about managing dementia and what to expect with an elder who's been diagnosed with it.

Understanding the Dementia Experience, by Jennifer Ghent-Fuller

Jennifer is a nurse who worked for many years as an educator and counsellor for people with dementia and their families, as well as others in caring roles. She addresses the emotional and grief issues in the contexts in which they arise for families living with dementia. The reviews for her books are phenomenal b/c they are written in plain English & very easy to read/understand. Her writings have been VERY helpful for me.

The full copy of her book is available here:

Here is a list of useful tips from her e-book I found to be excellent:

The “Dont's”
· Do not reason and argue
· Do not demand that they reason or problem-solve
· Do not demand that they remember
· Do not demand that they get their facts straight
· Do not correct their ideas or scold them
· Do not reorient them
· Do not think that they are being uncooperative on purpose
· Do not think that they really do remember, but are pretending not to
· Do not use a “bossy” dictatorial attitude in care
· Do not act with impatience

The Do's
· Enter into their frame of reality, or their 'world'
· Be aware of their mood or state of mind
· Use few words and simple phrases
· OR use no words, just friendly gestures and simple motions
· Do everything slowly
· Approach from the front
· Wait for a slow response
· Constantly reassure them that everything is 'OK'
· Keep people with dementia comfortable 'in the moment' - every moment
· Maximize use of remaining abilities
· Limit TV or radio programs which they may feel are frighteningly real
· Maintain privacy
· Provide a safe physical environment

Language Needs
· Use short words
· Use clear and simple sentences
· Speak slowly and calmly
· Questions should ask for a “yes” or “no” answer
· Talk about one thing at a time
· Talk about concrete things; not abstract ideas
· Use common phrases
· Always say what you are doing
· If they repeat their question, repeat your answer as you did the first time · Give them a longer time to process information
· Wait patiently for a response
· Be accepting of inappropriate answers and nonsense words
· Speak softly, soothingly and gently

Hire in home help to give YOU a break from all the aggravation. Think about placement for your wife where you can go see her daily & then come home to rest & relax w/o the burden of caregiving all on your shoulders alone.

Wishing you the best of luck with a tough situation.
Helpful Answer (9)
Reply to lealonnie1

Let them carry the conversation and don't argue. Don't say ""that never happened" Their reality becomes dreams, TV and the real world all jumbled together. When I talked to my Mom it was to answer question she had and I answered in very few words because she didn't process well. We never had conversations as such. My daughter was really good with her. She came once a week to do her laundry. She would sit on Moms bed and just allow Mom to talk. Her answers were, "really" "oh thats nice" "I know what you mean". She never corrected Mom, just went with the flow. Moms eyes lit up when M walked into the room. I found sometimes Mom just talked, not really to anyone in particular. Like what ever was going thru her mind came out of her mouth. Then one day she said "I guess no one is listening to me"
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Reply to JoAnn29

You will be "wrong" in your wife's eyes anytime you contradict how she sees things. Do not try to "correct" her. If she thinks prowlers are lurking outside, go outside and "check on that" for her. If she remembers a trip you both took to the moon, let her talk about how much she enjoyed that trip. If she says she needs to go home to take care of her parents, agree that she must miss them.
Tell her you love het and keep her safe. Our best to you.
Helpful Answer (6)
Reply to RedVanAnnie

I have a different experience I want to share. Sure, let them talk and nod and smile, blah, blah, blah. BUT. Scene — my father is in the hospital comatose (due to her negligence) and my elderly mom is there, spinning her incredible, not to be believed tales, and the medical staff are physically forcing my brother and I into the hallway, demanding to know what is wrong with her? Seriously? She is totally insane with Swiss cheese for brains and ER people are asking what is wrong with her? Waiting for a table in a local restaurant she she is telling the overflow crowd lie after lie. They are nodding yet looking to me for proof? Woo-Hoo, folks -Do you have brains? Put on a
thinking cap.

Has the world gone crazy? If somebody in their 90s starts telling others that the man next door sends them codes by turning on the car lights (when it is dark out), time to be a critical thinker.

Even, EVEN the neurologist we went to for her diagnosis of Alzheimer’s believed many of the things she said and was shocked when I had to correct the wild stories.

I fear for the world.
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Reply to lakin1013
Santalynn Jan 29, 2023
'Swiss cheese for brains' is an apt description, sadly. I realized this had become my mom's 'new normal' when chatting on the phone one Sunday. This was back when the little Cuban boy, age 6, was rescued from the ocean and George Bush was running for president. I told mom about the little boy being saved (tho his mother drowned), and mentioned it was an election year. My mom replied, "WHO would want a 6-year old President?" It was heartbreakingly funny; I agreed, "You're right, mom, who would want a 6yr old for president!" (cue the irony re Bush, but I digress.) That exchange with my mom told me her brain could no longer function, make proper connections, etc. That's when you must stop trying to make Them 'make sense.' Any sort of clarity comes and goes until it goes forever. To me it really was like a regression into infantile helplessness and inability to reason/think. It's like the old bad joke, "The light is on but nobody's home." Be compassionate but don't make yourself crazy trying to fight this progressive illness, making the afflicted understand because they simply cannot. It's not personal.
You should talk to them as you would if they didn't have Alzheimer's, with a calm loving voice. And you must remember that someone with dementia often loses their ability to comprehend the spoken word which can make things more challenging as well. But the key is to keep calm and not lose your temper. That is often easier said than done,(when they've asked you the same question 10 times in 15 minutes)but if you want to keep peace with her you must try your best to remain calm. You will both reap the benefits of you doing so.
And you should never argue with a person with dementia as you will NEVER win, as I'm sure you already know. All it will do is make her mad and you mad too. If she says the sky is green, you just say "and it's such a pretty green isn't it?"
So just go along with whatever she says and you will be surprised just how much more peace there will be between the 2 of you.
And educate yourself more about the disease of dementia. Teepa Snow(a dementia expert)has a lot of great videos on YouTube along with several books she's written. The book The 36 Hour Day is also a great resource.
I believe it all boils down to the Golden Rule. Do unto other as you would have them to unto you. So think about how you would want someone to treat you if you had Alzheimer's and it may just give you a whole new perspective.
Helpful Answer (5)
Reply to funkygrandma59

Hello. I'm just echoing what other people have said. When my mom had Alzheimer's, I had to learn, as others have said, not to correct her, (unless her safety or health was involved, like making sure she was appropriately dressed for the weather; she couldn't walk out without a coat when it was cold, for example). If she thought it was Tuesday, buit it was really Wednesday, what's the harm in having her think it was a different day of the week. (When Covid first started, when our work, school, and activity schedules shifted, many people got days confused.) I had to have a different mindset when dealing with my mom. like others ahve said, it was like dealing with a toddler, and sometimes like dealing with a toddler who was throwing a tantrum. (She wanted a glass of juice when she wanted it, not 5 minutes after I finished a phone call.) Sometimes she'd be "in a mood," and I just had to wait for the storm to pass. I even wrote a book about our trials and travails called "My Mother Has Alzheimer's and My Dog Has Tapeworms: A Caregiver's Tale." I found writing it cathartic for me, and as it turned out, helpful for other people as well. I also learned, over time, not to approach her from the back, as that would startle her. I couldn't tap her on the shoulder to tell her something; if she was walking away from me, like walking down our hallway, I had to call her name, she'd turn around, and then I could tell her something. I also learned not to take her insults personally. I knew it was the disease talking. Best of luck.
Helpful Answer (5)
Reply to rlynn123
aermay Jan 29, 2023
I hope you were able to rid your dog of tapeworms!
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I know that it's difficult but it doesn't matter if you're right. Alzheimer's doesn't care. Humor her. She isn't capable of determining what's real and what's not so why put her through the stress of arguing about it? It's difficult. My mom suffers from a traumatic brain injury from 2017 that affects her as if she has dementia/Alzheimer's that's getting worse. Thank goodness I'm trained in home healthcare otherwise I'd be crazy by now. It's a challenge. Hang in there. She's still in there, just behind the fog. 🌻
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Reply to AmyDdot1
BurntCaregiver Jan 29, 2023

Humoring them and indulging in harmless delusions are fine. As long as they are harmless.
Going along with a demented person's delusion about there being prowlers in the bushes when there aren't or agreeing with them when they accuse others of abuse because they have villified these people in their minds, is not okay. Supporting them in these kinds of delusions and going along with it, validates the nonsense and can make them even more paranoid and increase their anxiety. Don't humor on everything.
My BIL has dementia and what we do is always agree with him. You can't tell them they are wrong on anything. We have learned that we redirect him on things to get him off of a subject. How we ground him is tell him you have your recliner and etc things there so it calms him down.

Just go with the flow in other words. She maybe wrong with things but you don't correct them.

Helpful Answer (4)
Reply to Babs2013

Just agree with everything they say. Its really the only way, because correcting them only aggravates them. You don’t have to be right or prove her wrong. The only thing that may come into play is if there’s an issue of safety.

Caregiving for dementia patients is learning how to bite your tongue, and hide your feelings. That’s why supports groups are invaluable.
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Reply to Donttestme

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