A person with Alzheimer’s may not recognize familiar people, places, or things. He or she may forget relationships, call family members by other names, or become confused about where home is. A person may also forget the purpose of common items, such as a pen or a fork. These situations are extremely difficult for caregivers and families and require much patience and understanding.
How to respond
- Stay calm. Although being called by a different name or not being recognized can be painful, try not to make your hurt apparent.
- Respond with a brief explanation. Don’t overwhelm the person with lengthy statements or reasons. Instead, clarify with a simple explanation.
- Show photos and other reminders. Use photographs and other thought-provoking items to remind the person of important relationships and places.
- Offer corrections as suggestions. Avoid explanations that sound like scolding. Try “I thought it was a fork, “or “I think she is your granddaughter Julie.”
- Try not to take it personally. Alzheimer’s disease causes your loved one to forget, but your support and understanding will continue to be appreciated.