A younger woman talking on a cell phone is smiling and gesturing with her free hand, which is sendings hearts, stars, and smiley faces floating across a split screen and toward an older woman. She is on a telephone and is laughing.

Sharing the Good News

Especially now, finding the good news can be important. But sharing good news with loved ones with Alzheimer's disease is important too, after all, everyone likes a good story!

Using distractions strategically

We all need a distraction sometimes. For people with dementia, these distractions can be important because they can help disengage difficult thought patterns or topics of conversation, at least temporarily. If your loved one is stuck on a topic, such as regarding a paranoia or suspicion, a distracting activity and conversation change is a tool you may be able to try.

My grandma lives independently, but sometimes when she phones fixated on something or somewhat agitated, my mom will listen to her for a bit and then tell her to go make a cup of tea and she will call back later. Often, the distraction, and an enjoyable drink, can help! Similarly, if she is visiting my grandma, she will say “Aren’t you going to make us tea?” and it will sometimes work to refocus the conversation.

On to the good news and conversation starters

Now, my ADHD makes me really good at distractions. I distract myself all the time! I find bizarre things interesting and have a lot of things bouncing around in my head at once.

One day a few months ago, my mom was curling in the morning and asked me to do her morning phone call to my grandma. Of course, I’m not the one calling every day, so that in itself I think would have been good enough to pass those positive vibes through the phone lines.

But no, I had a great story for her. Because while she pays enough attention to the news, she had not yet heard the story about Prime Minister Justin Trudeau going to a local donut shop on a visit to town.

Well, I had to tell her this, but not only that, they had a Dunkaroos donut that I wanted and I could not get the darn thing because the donut shop kept selling out long before I could get there most days! Now, I’m sure this recap four months later is not as good as the conversation I had with my grandma, but I do know she laughed and laughed. I make a point to give her a call when I find a fun story to share!

Find the good new

Even though times may be rough, it’s important to look for the good news. Whether it’s animal videos, feel-good stories, comics, or even just a fun recipe or craft project, find something to brighten the day despite what you’ll see on the news or in your Facebook feed. And when you find those good stories (or the ridiculous ones!) share them with your loved one so you both can have a smile or laugh.

What’s a story that you’ve heard lately that’s made you or your loved one with Alzheimer's disease smile? Share them with us!

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