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As a caregiver, how do you keep people with Alzheimer’s or dementia socially active?

By | October 21st, 2020

You want to be a facilitator rather than a protector. In social settings, you want to encourage and mediate conversation. For example, most people are right side dominant, so it’s better if the support system (such as yourself) starts sitting to their left, to encourage the third party to be on the preferred side to ease the person into the conversation. This way, the comfortable entity like the caregiver can be on the less comfortable side (the left side) while the third party can be on the dominant right side. It also allows a facilitator to intervene without feeling like a helicopter or without an alarming intervention. You don’t want to isolate them- you’re there for support and facilitating. Because of that positioning and that flexibility, you can address both people as well. One of the things we’re starting to recognize with people is that involving people with Alzheimer’s or dementia in “practice” conversations is important because they need some time to work through things before their first try is in front of a “live jury” (like a public/social setting) where they could feel judged. The reality is there’s still a stigma around dementia, and those who have it don’t know about it until they have it. People have fears that they’ll make mistakes, and people worry about their reputation, so doing this “rehearsal” ahead of time can make a huge difference!

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