- If ask them what had for breakfast, this may confuse them or they will say they have not had breakfast. Instead talk about something they do know … what anecdotes do they like telling; prompt them or if they are interested in the weather, point to the window and say raining and see if can get them talking about the weather, what is going on outside … If they then say they like splashing around in their Peppa pig wellies as they think they are 4 years old; it does not matter, they are talking about something that has made them happy.
- If confused and asking for Mum, if tell them mum is dead that will confuse and upset; therefore do not correct them, instead say something like she will be right back to comfort them that there mum is ok.
- Before you correct someone, pause and ask yourself three questions. Let’s just use one of the toughest examples: wearing the same outfit every single day.
First question: Does it hurt you physically (not annoy you—we are easily annoyed) that they wear the same outfit every day? If you are answering honestly, the answer is “No.”
Second question: Does it physically hurt any of the other people living here? “No.” (When you get older you lose your sense of smell.)
Third question: Does it hurt the person with dementia physically to wear the same outfit every single day? “No.”
If you answered “No” to these three questions, let it go. It’s difficult enough to get dressed once a day, let alone twice.
Even if the outfit is dirty or has an odor, does it physically hurt anyone? No. If the outfit is soiled, then yes, now is the time to give them a reason to change clothes: “Company is coming.” “It’s Saturday night.” “Let’s get cleaned up for church.” Simply give them a reason they would understand to get “washed up.”
Since they have short-term memory loss, do they remember wearing that outfit yesterday? No. Why do they choose that outfit? They like it. It makes them feel good. Allowing this choice means respecting their dignity. Don’t you get to choose what outfit you wear?