20 Things to NOT Say to a Person with Dementia

I’m sharing a post by Kay Bransford, whose blog I follow, who has posted the 20 things not to say to someone with dementia, compiled by Kate Swaffer who has been diagnosed with dementia. It’s an excellent list and Kay has added some well-chosen points of her own.

Dealing with Dementia

20-things-not-to-say-to-aperson-with-dementia-updated-6june2014.jpgThis list comes from Kate Swaffer who after being diagnosed offers a fresh perspective on how to live beyond dementia rather than only die from it, and how family, friends and dementia care professionals can more positively support people post diagnosis to do this. She has lovingly challenged, advised, and counseled me quite a few times on my journey. We even launched a Q&A blog where we peppered each other with questions.

As a follow-up to my go-to strategies for family visits, I plucked a few key tips to consider and am listing my top ten:

  1. Don’t tell the person they are wrong.
  2. Don’t say “Remember when … “
  3. Don’t correct or challenge trivial things.
  4. Don’t assume they can’t understand you because they are silent.
  5. Don’t think they can’t communicate just because we can’t speak.
  6. Don’t talk about them to someone else in front of them.
  7. Don’t remind them of…

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My Dad’s a Goldfish – whose memory?

cropped-goldfish-87-1254566814ncva1.jpg

Whose memory?

You watch as I slather honey
on toast already oozing butter.
Eyes gleam with anticipation,
widen in delight at first bite.
You would have spread
both less thick, enjoy my generosity.

‘I used to keep bees,’ you say.
I nod, recall my Islay childhood
of honey combs dripping sticky amber
liquid gold, taste of honeysuckle,
heather. Your beeswax discs
slippery smooth won prizes.

You’re confused. How do I know these things?
And I understand this morning
I am not your daughter. I am
some random woman who gives you
toast and honey and tries
to claim your memories as hers.
Mary Smith