Best Practices when Dealing with a Loved One with Alzheimer’s Disease

Nancy Snyder

Alzheimer's Disease

The Three C’s you want to avoid!

It’s tough being a caregiver for a person with Alzheimer’s Disease. It can be very challenging and very rewarding, all at the same time. I co-facilitated an Alzheimer’s Support Group for family caregivers for many years. Many of the members shared their best practices when dealing with different behaviors exhibited by their loved one with Alzheimer’s.

Just recently, members of the group shared a best practice called the Three C’s of caring for a person with Alzheimer’s. The Three C’s are things you DON’T want to do when dealing with a person with Alzheimer’s. The Three C’s stand for, Contradict, Correct and Criticize.

  • Contradict-It’s never helpful to contradict a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease. It’s good to remember that Alzheimer’s is a disease of the brain and areas of the brain have been damaged or destroyed. The person is not being contrary on purpose. They are just not able to process information like they did when their brain was healthy. Don’t try to orient them to reality. It’s best to meet the person where they are in their mind. Loved ones need to enter the Alzheimer’s person’s reality. Not try to force the Alzheimer’s person into the present.
  • Correct-Continuing with the above concept, correcting the person with Alzheimer’s often leads to conflict. Each side can get upset and try to insist that their side is reality. This is not an effective strategy to help a person with Alzheimer’s. Again, it is better to enter the Alzheimer’s person’s reality in order to keep upset and anxiety manageable. A person with Alzheimer’s may not remember who they argued with or what the argument was about, but they will remember that they feel upset or something upsetting happened. This can lead to behaviors that are more detrimental to the person such as refusing to eat to take medications.
  • Criticize-The last ‘C’ that should be avoided is criticizing the person with Alzheimer’s. Loved ones need to remember that the person is doing the best they can. Loved ones should remember to focus on what the person can still do and encourage those skills. It’s good to let the person help with chores if they are still able or pursue a hobby that they always enjoyed. Even if they miss a step or things don’t come out ‘perfect’, it’s okay. Again, the person is using the skills they still have and that should be celebrated.

It’s hard to be a caregiver to a person with Alzheimer’s. You must remember to take care of yourself. It’s good to have time for yourself. Try to enlist the help of others to stay with your loved one for a few hours so you can have some much deserved respite. Remember to try and always see the humor in most of the situations that occur.

We’re here to help you, the family caregiver, get some much needed rest and rejuvenation. Our caring companions can come to your home and provide you with some much needed respite time. 

Contact us today to learn more or call us at 269-204-6537 for a free assessment of your needs. Don’t wait.

Tags: Alzheimer’s Care, Dementia Care, Home Care, Companion Care, Family Caregiver Support