The Three Don’ts of Dementia

Three Things That Will NEVER Work!

three-don'ts-dementiaCommunicating with people who are living with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia can be extraordinarily difficult. There are a lot of strategies caregivers can employ to make it easier, but you should know that there are three things that will NEVER work. The Three DON’TS of Dementia are:

1. Don’t argue. You will not win. Arguing will just make them more agitated and upset.

2. Don’t try to talk them out of it. Rationalizing and reasoning will not work. Whatever they are experiencing in the current moment is as real to them as your reality is to you. Trying to convince them otherwise is futile, and it will leave both of you upset and frustrated.

3. Don’t pressure them to remember. They can’t. Alzheimer’s is a thief that steals memories, skills and abilities. Once those are gone, they cannot be recreated or reconstructed. Pressuring them to remember will only make them feel frustrated, upset, and like a failure.

One more thing – DON”T think you can fix, control or change it. Alzheimer’s never stops stealing. Lori LeBey with Alzheimer’s Speaks says there are only three things that matter when you are caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s:

1. Keep them happy
2. Keep them safe
3. Keep them pain free

Nothing else matters.

For more information on communicating with people living with dementia, please click on the link below:

Caregiver Help – Dementia Issues


  1. Alessandro Machi August 1, 2015 at 7:22 am

    What about people with dementia who are not as far gone? Isn’t it possible that having memory exercises and reviewing their past may actually help slow down further loss of memory? My mother had pneumonia last summer. I am still seeing improvement ONE YEAR LATER. She was able to sign her name and do a good job on just the second try. There have been times in the past where she struggled repeatedly to write her name.

    • Elaine Sanchez August 1, 2015 at 10:36 am

      Hi Alessandro,
      Thank you for your comment and question. I have heard many experts say, “If you’ve seen one case of dementia . . . You’ve seen one case of dementia!” Every person’s experience is unique. It isn’t unusual for people to lose a lot of ground physically and mentally when they experience a health crisis, such as in your mother’s case. It’s wonderful to know that she’s continuing to show improvement.

      Current research tells us that anything that is good for the heart is also good for the brain. Socialization can also have a positive impact. There are millions of dollars and countless hours being spent on Alzheimer’s research. So far there are no cures, but I continue to pray that there will be in the not too distant future.

      In the meantime, I hope you will continue to engage your mother in interesting activities and know that regardless of how many memories she loses, or how many skills she forgets, she will always appreciate good companionship and being told that she’s loved.

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