Community Views: Treating People With Dignity

Living with a disease like Alzheimer's greatly impacts a person's dignity. Over time, they cannot stay alone, struggle to care for their bodies, and lose their independence. Offering a loved one with Alzheimer's as much dignity as possible is so important.

We recently asked members of the Facebook community, "How can we best treat those living with Alzheimer’s with dignity?"

Community members provided plenty of good suggestions for how to uphold the dignity of a loved one with Alzheimer's.

Meet them where they are

Many respondents shared the importance of meeting those with Alzheimer's where they are. Treating them with dignity means entering their reality. It is crucial not to scold them when they cannot remember or try to force an accurate reality onto them. Engaging with them directly rather than around them is also vital for extending dignity to a loved one with Alzheimer's.

"Chat with them, not at them, as if they are invisible."

"Be in the moment with them; don't try to change or correct them if you know it's not true. It's true to them. Ask questions about that moment – you may just learn something about them you never knew."

"Speak directly to them, although you likely will not understand the response you receive."

"Go with the flow! Wherever they are in their mind, don't correct them – don't ask if they remember this or that. Be present in their world."

"Go with their reality, however crazy and wrong it may be. If someone thinks I work somewhere I don't, or I am someone I'm not, or whatever their reality is, meet them there and go with it. It's a huge comfort to them to get confirmation of their ever-changing reality."

Go on outings

Several members shared about taking their loved ones on outings. Finding ways to get them out of the house while keeping them safe is an act of dignity.

"I took my husband on weekly outings to museums, boat rides, carriage rides, arboretums, the zoo, and out to eat in restaurants, even when I had to cut his food and feed him right up to 2 weeks before he died. He loved it and got excited every time, and everywhere we went."

"Take them out for treats or just out."

"We took him for rides around the block."

Play music

Many respondents mentioned the calming influence of music on their loved ones. Music is a way to connect without words. When listening to music, a loved one with Alzheimer's does not need to remember details of who a person is or how they know them. You can enjoy and be in the moment together.

"With my wife, who has early-onset Alzheimer's, I play music. It really boosts her spirits."

"Familiar music is also an important element in the daily routine of people struggling with memory loss."

"Played music for my Pop."

"Favorite music from their young days. Headphones, MP3, or portable CD. The calm and happiness it brings is incredible."

"Play their favorite music and their favorite shows."

Love and patience

Another key share was approaching a loved one with love and patience. The confusion those with Alzheimer's live with can feel frustrating at times – for everyone. Extending as much love and patience as possible grants them dignity as they struggle with this disease.

"Love them. My husband doesn't remember his name anymore but still responds to love. He likes hugs, and even if we are sitting watching TV, he will reach out to hold my hand."

"Love them, don't argue with them, be patient."

"With patience, compassion, and love. Nobody chooses to be in their situation. They're still the same person we love, but their brain is not. We have to always remember that."

"Listen to them, and though it gets hard at times, use patience."

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This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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