It can often be difficult and emotionally draining when you try to speak with your parent as they progress through Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer’s disease can lead to conversations that might not make sense, make you feel uncomfortable, or cause you to say something accidentally that makes your parent upset.
Here are some common questions and statements you should not say to your parent during conversations:
- “Do You Remember?” This is a common question that tends to come up in everyday conversation. You might not even notice when you ask your parent if they remember something, but there’s a good chance your parent will not remember what you’re asking about. Memory loss is one of the most common symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease and when your parent is unable to remember something, this can make them feel embarrassed or upset as they realize they’re beginning to lose their memories.
- “Do You Recognize Me?” It can be very upsetting when you notice that your parent no longer recognizes you. Try to avoid repeatedly asking them if they know who you are, as this can prompt them to feel guilty if they’re unsure. An approach you can take instead, is to greet your parent kindly and re-introduce yourself to them by stating your name.
- “I Already Told You That.” Something you can expect when speaking with someone who has Alzheimer’s disease is repeating yourself often. Chances are you will find yourself telling your parent the same thing over and over again. Do your best to be patient with them and avoid telling them they’ve made you repeat yourself, as this could remind your parent of their disease and upset them.
- “You’re Wrong.” Nobody likes to hear that they’re wrong, especially someone who is dealing with high levels of confusion and memory loss. You may find it very difficult to go along with something your parent says that is false, but there is no benefit in arguing with them over it.
- “What Do You Want to Eat?” If you can, try to avoid asking your parent open-ended questions. Questions like this can trigger a lot of stress, as they may find it difficult to formulate an answer. Avoiding open-ended questions will take the pressure off your parent and allow them to avoid having to make a decision.
Overall, when interacting and communicating with your parent, ask yourself how you would like to be treated. This approach works as a guide for how to ensure you’re treating your parent with the love and respect they deserve.