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.
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