We don’t train people to be friendly. People want the friendships they had, and get anxious about sustaining a friendship when it changes. So then their behavior changes- they might ask questions about their friend but not to them directly, instead addressing a third party. And if friends come with a big plan like looking through a photo album, and the person with Alzheimer’s rejects the idea, the friend isn’t prepared for that. Rather than a confrontational, yes or no kind of question, as a friend, you can create options for them. You can bring your photo album, but instead you can say, ‘Oh I brought a photo album; would you rather look at it or go for a walk.’ The cool thing about walking is that it’s an action- we can talk and walk and we don’t need to make a lot of face contact. And as a friend, you can start pointing out colors and architecture. Essentially, you try to recalibrate the friendship for the abilities of the person. Lastly, if I have disappearing friends, I need to recognize this and maybe look for new friendships as well.
How do we deal with disappearing friend syndrome?
By Bill Fisher | October 21st, 2020