Archive for May 2013

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What to Do When Your Loved One Behaves Inappropriately in Public

Saturday, May 25th, 2013

1. Take the person to places with fewer people around. That way if your loved one does make a scene there won’t be many people nearby to witness it.

2. Entertain friends at home instead of meeting them at restaurants or movie theaters. Ed tended to behave much better when in his own home.

3. I once read about a caregiver who passed out little printed cards that read. “My loved one has Alzheimer’s – Please excuse her behavior.”

4. Here are some methods I discovered could sometimes prevent outbursts in the first place

–           Don’t even bring up subjects that might make the person agitated

–           If the person gets upset, distract them by changing the subject

–           Agree with the person (unless there’s a compelling reason not to)

–           Do not argue with the person

–           Do not try to reason with the person 

5. If all else fails you can reduce the frequency with which you take your loved one out in public or, if the behaviors are too extreme, limit excursions to essential trips, such as doctor’s appointments.

A Valuable Resource for You: Tryn Rose Seley’s 15 Minutes of Fame

Wednesday, May 22nd, 2013

Tryn Rose Seley’s book, 15 Minutes of Fame, is a gold mine for caregivers of people with dementia. This brief and concise 35-page book has the subtitle One Photo Does Wonders to Bring You Both Back to Solid Ground. It is full of positive, practical and uplifting advice for enriching the lives of people with Alzheimer’s.

The book’s focus is “Empowering Caregivers of Those With Alzheimer’s.” It is intended to enable professional or family caregivers to entertain, engage and build trust with people who have dementia. The proposed approach is to share personal and meaningful stories, photos, songs and other materials with the person for at least 15 minutes per day.

According to Tryn Rose, “This improves daily mood, energy and hope for you and the one you care for. The ideas in the book,” she continues, “turn a stressful or ordinary day into an extraordinary one, sparking creativity and gratitude on this path of caregiving.”

The book contains numerous examples from the author’s experience as a caregiver. These illustrate how easy it is to implement the ideas advanced in the book.

Ms. Seley says it’s also important to leave stories and other materials in the person’s room (either at home or in a long-term care community) so that other caregivers or visitors can see and share them with the person. In this way a “circle of care” can be developed.

In conclusion, this is a wonderful, inspirational, and motivating book with clear and easy to follow strategies for transforming the days of people with dementia (or other special needs for that matter).

The book is available in Kindle format on If you prefer a PDF, you may download it on the author’s website.

Note: Tryn Rose Seley is a professional caregiver, photographer, and a sought-after musician who makes presentations and offers workshops on various aspects of dementia for interested communities and organizations. You can email her at and follow her on Twitter: @TrynRose.



5 Things Alzheimer’s Caregivers Should Never Do

Sunday, May 5th, 2013

Don’t Be in Denial: When a loved one shows signs of dementia it’s common for their friends and loved ones to be in denial. It’s easy to ignore the symptoms, make excuses for the person, and push the symptoms to the back of your mind. The problem with denial is it doesn’t lead you to take your loved one to a primary care physician or neurologist for a complete workup. Sometimes dementia is caused by health issues other than Alzheimer’s. Some of those problems can be treated or even reversed.

Don’t Ask “Do You Remember?” Asking a person with Alzheimer’s if they remember something is a common mistake. They have probably forgotten the event in question. That’s what people with Alzheimer’s do. They forget. So it’s better to say, “I remember when . . . ” and then tell them a story.

Don’t Argue With or Contradict the Person: If you’re caring for someone with dementia it’s so easy to contradict or argue with them when they say things that are total nonsense. And they typically say a lot of things that fall into this category. But it’s much better to agree with them and then change the subject. This can prevent a nasty argument.

Don’t Delay Nursing Home Placement When It’s Clearly Needed: At some point it may (but not always) become evident that you can no longer care for the person at home. Mid- to late-stage patients need nursing staff and aides 24 hours a day and a physician on call at all times. They also need a dietician, a cook, a housekeeper, an activity director and many more professionals. And they need to have people around them to provide social stimulation. Sometimes placing the person in a reputable institution is indeed the most loving choice for the patient.

Don’t Stop Visiting When Your Loved One No Longer Recognizes You: Many people think that there’s no reason to visit a loved one who no longer recognizes them, but I am firmly convinced that you should visit anyway. First of all the person may enjoy being visited even if he or she doesn’t quite know who is visiting them. More importantly, it’s possible that the person does recognize you but simply isn’t able to say so.

Do any of you have suggestions of other things an Alzheimer’s caregiver should never do?