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Three things you can do when spending time with a parent who has dementia.

It’s difficult to change the pattern of a lifelong relationship, but important for both you and your parent. It takes time. You will have good days and bad days.

There are three things I found that you can do to make your visit with someone who has dementia more enjoyable for both of you.

1)      Bring Photographs – Pictures give you a common visual to discuss. If you bring older photographs, you may be surprised by the things your parents will remember.

2)      Ask Questions About Their Younger Years – While they don’t know what they had for breakfast, one of the last things to go will be the memories from their childhood and early adult years – focus on those. For some ideas, visit my earlier post Conversational questions to ask a parent who has dementia.

3)      Do Not Point Out Their Memory Issues / Correct Misinformation – You didn’t like it growing up, and now neither will they. This is easier said than done. When your parent doesn’t want to acknowledge to you that they have a memory problem, pointing it out or correcting them leaves a pall over your visit. Take a deep breath, smile and redirect the conversation by asking them a question about something unrelated.

Changing the pattern to your visits takes time so don’t get frustrated when you find it difficult. It’s taken me years to adapt and figure out how to better use the time I do have with my parents. Assured.

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