Feb 25, 2016

Alzheimer's 3 Little Words That Work

Alzheimer's caregivers often describe a problem to me that they are having with a loved one.

Alzheimer's caregivers often describe a problem they are having with a loved one | Alzheimer's Reading Room

The problems range from the simple, the patient refuses to take a bath; or, the patient wants to go home all the time.

Or, a more complex behavior - the patient doesn't remember who they are, or, adamantly claims that something that is untrue (false) is in fact true.

Touch and Kindness in Dementia Care

In just about every case the conversation starts with the caregiver telling me how they try to explain to the person living with dementia the error of their ways.

In other words, they use a lot of words, to explain, cajole or correct. This doesn't work.

How to Get Answers To Your Questions About Alzheimer's and Dementia

As part of the mini-cog memory screening a patient is asked to remember three words (objects) and repeat them. They can't do it, even in a very early stage of Alzheimer's. So it should be apparent that using a lot of words to deal with an Alzheimer's patient is not likely to be effective.

In addition, dementia patients evidence diminished cognitive reserves. This means they can easily become confused and overwhelmed by the use of too many words. When this happens they often "act out".


If you are like I once was you try to explain, convince, correct, cajole and even beg your loved one to cooperate. It just doesn't work. Once I finally realized this I was able to develop a new set of communication skills that really did work in a world filled with Alzheimer's.

In order to understand, cope and communicate with a person living with dementia you need to change the way you deal with them and deal with problems.

Previously I wrote an article about the importance of changing patterns in order to deal more effectively with difficult behaviors. The goal is to change bad patterns into good patterns. The goal is to change the dynamic. I think you will find the articles in this custom search useful and effective.



I will suggest that you try these three little words

I love you.

They will make a difference.

Here are a few custom searches that should help. Take the time when you can to read through the articles; and then, apply what you learn.

Alzheimer's World

How to Get a Dementia Patient to Do What You Want Them to Do

Alzheimer's Anger, Frustration, and Agitation

Why Do Dementia Patients Want to Go Home

Bob DeMarco is the Founder of the Alzheimer's Reading Room (ARR).

The Alzheimer's Reading Room contains more than 5,000 articles and has been published daily since July, 2009.

You are reading original content the Alzheimer's Reading Room

The Mini-Cog memory test (Clock Test), takes 2 to 4 minutes to administer and involves asking patients to recall three words after drawing a picture of a clock. If a patient shows no difficulties recalling the words, it is inferred that he or she does not have dementia. If the patient can recall one or two words, the level of accuracy of his or her clock drawing then becomes definitive. If the patient is unable to recall any of the words, it is inferred that he or she could be evidencing dementia. This is a clear indication that additional memory testing is warranted and needed.