Buy the book now

Finalist in the Santa Fe Writer's Project Literary Awards, Eric Hoffer First Horizon Awards, Reader's Favorite Awards and Indie Excellence Awards

Don’t Ask Who, What, When, Where, Why or How

When talking with a person who has Alzheimer’s it’s best to avoid questions whose answers are too specific (who, what, where, or when) and also avoid ones whose answers are too complicated (why or how).

For example if you ask, “Did your daughter visit you this week?” your loved one may not remember. They may not even remember they have a daughter.

The same goes for questions such as “What did you do this morning?” Again, they probably won’t have the faintest idea what they did and they may just feel embarrassed or stupid.

It’s best to let the person save face and ask, “Are you enjoying your day?” or “How are you feeling today?”

Instead of asking, “Where did you go on the drive they took you on today?” you might ask, “Did you enjoy the drive?” (This assumes they just got back from the drive and will remember they went on one.)

Why and how questions tend to be too complicated for a person with Alzheimer’s. For example, they may have difficulty answering, “Why are you in such a bad mood today?” Again, you might say, “It seems you aren’t feeling well today.”

How questions also tend to have complicated answers. An example would be “How did you find your purse?” (which she had lost). She probably won’t remember she lost her purse let alone that she later found it.

We may also forget and ask,” Where did you find your purse?” And again she may feel bad that she can’t remember.

It’s better to say, “I see you found your purse. You must be happy about that.”

This is simple advice but it’s often hard to remember. So there we go again asking questions they most likely won’t be able to answer. “Where did they have the church service this morning?” or “Why did you skip the church service?”

We have to keep reminding ourselves not to expect them to remember recent details and not to be able to answer questions whose answers are complex.

 

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

2 Responses to “Don’t Ask Who, What, When, Where, Why or How”

  1. Melissa from Pittsburgh says:

    This is so true, and something I forget far too often. We only mean to be nice, to be interested, but we do need to remember that “being nice” is an entirely different thing, when we’re dealing with dementia. Great article, I look forward to reading more.

    Report this comment

  2. patsy from Florida says:

    Great advice!
    When at a loss for what to say….try a compliment: ‘your smile is beautiful!’ ‘You look good in ….color of shirt or dress’

    Report this comment

Leave a Reply