Alzheimer's Stage When It's Time To Stop Reorienting Your Loved One

Armen Hareyan's picture
Dementia memory loss

When do you know it's time to stop reorienting your loved one who has an Alzheimer's Disease and just go with the delusions?

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This question was today asked at Alzheimer's And Dementia Support group on Facebook and a number of caregivers who care for their loved ones shared their opinions from their experiences. Here are few notable answers that may help eMaxHealth readers who care for people with Alzheimer's and Dementia.

In our case, I just chimed right in and had a full-on conversation. This is usually temporary. Just go with it. Safety first, but it can be a stress reliever for you both. - Reggie Smith

In my case, I just agreed to something that's not happening. It calmed her down. Last time I reasoned and we went in circles. What do you mean by this is usually temporary? - Mari Leirmo

" I can only speak for us, but my wife last summer was having neighbors, dead relatives in the house and trying to catch them and talk to them, I gave up the reasoning and became part of the conversation, taking my turn to talk. but that's the stage we were at....this was daily for about 6 months, then it subsided. So weird to witness. Now she cannot articulate, I'd love to hear that "jibber-jabber" again. The doctor said it was part of the many phases. Blessings and good luck to you on that one little thing," replied Reggie Smith.

Never argue with an Alzheimer's / Dementia person, only confuses them and very shortly, you as well. - Also see: What To Do When Your Loved One Who Has Alzheimer's Makes Something Up.

When you pick up on the fact that no matter what you say they are still going to veer off into there own little world and you are just going to have to take that trip with them. You just have to learn to choose your battles. Most often it is not worth getting them worked up over their confusion and is best just to keep them calm and go along with their delusion. - Chris Honcock.

Diversion Works

"My wife was with my parents the other day and she said something about hating the weird weather that we had been having. My mom responded with "I hate sour milk." My wife just kind of chuckled and off they went on a discussion about sour milk," Honcock added to the discussion.

Diversion does often work. Especially if they are getting worked up and upset about something. "We've been on this adventure with her since about 2013 when we first started noticing some of the signs that the cheese was sliding off her cracker. One of the first was when she went to the craft store that she had been to a hundred times before and couldn't remember how to get home," Honcock wrote.

Early On or The Day of Diagnosis

I started going along with my mom's version early on. She would get upset if I tried tp explain things to her. One time she said, "Just let me have this, I won't remember later." - Sara Wold

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The day they were diagnosed is a great day to start. Why cause them shame or embarrassment. - Lisa Green

As soon as They start happening. - Rebecca Bernai

Reorienting: if it's names or dates can be helpful but anything with emotional content like deaths should be deflected. - Shelby Cook

You will see when it’s just easier to agree with them because they start to get angry like they don’t know what they’re talking about. I go along with my MIL all the time. When I correct her she gets upset and it’s just not worth it. - Mira Tarlow

The time to go with the delusions is now. I believe you have to ask yourself when... That's the time just give into the awkwardness. It will get easier. And someday she's going to surprise you with lucidity. That was kind of cool to happen. For a split moment, I felt my mom was there. You will love those times. You will feel like she is back. - Mari Leirmo

As soon as possible but you call it their reality, just agree, don’t argue or correct. I just smile and say “You’re probably right” If it is directed to you and hostile then you tell them you love them and everything is going to be okay. Over and over when something is crazy. Just never argue or fail to graciously repeat the repeated questions. - Linda Pfau

You will just know when the time has come! It is a lot easier for the both of you when it happens. - Jane Richardson

As my Alzheimer's facilitator would tell us "whatever you learned in life walk over to a window and throw it out as it wouldn't work with these diseases." "we need to go into their world because they can't stay in ours." Trust me when I say this took me awhile to "get it," but once you do just go with the flow, as I say "It feels like its Groundhogs Day with a Mel Brooks movie thrown in for good measure every day." - Vea Flood

Start right away when it starts. Usually, it's not worth the stress on either side. Redirecting works sometimes in the beginning but overall, its real to them and saying differently only causes anxiety for them and you. - Cindy Swedberg

I would say as long as it is not harming them go with them after all its how they are seeing the world now. - Dele Frith

Start as soon as possible. I had someone further along in the disease, say just go wherever your loved one is. Life will be much simpler for both of you. Takes a lot frustration away from both of you. I must admit it has taken me some time to follow through with it. The reality of where this disease takes us isn’t easy... I tend to be a serious person, with this I find my husband and I are laughing more than in a long time. - Sandy Miller.

What about you? Have you been in a similar situation? When do you know it's time to stop reorienting your loved one who has an Alzheimer's Disease and just go with the delusions?

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