There Is No Reasoning With Dementia

Steve Wishman
February 9, 2023

It's a thing I have to remind myself of, again and again. People in moderate and severe stages of dementia often are unable to engage in conversations about respect or political correctness. Even if they are, they’ll likely forget the discussion shortly afterward. Instead, the best option is to quickly end their abrasive comments through acknowledgment and redirection. Reasoning with your care recipient or teaching them the error of their thinking is flat-out impossible.

A handy card for navigating social minefields

A proactive way for caregivers to avoid conflict in public is to carry a card that says "My companion has dementia. Please be patient. Thank You!" Silently sliding one of these across the counter to a receptionist or server can be a great way to get ahead of potentially stressful interactions.

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Steve Wishman

Steve Wishman is the founder of Zen and the Art of Caregiving, and author/illustrator of How Mom Died, a webcomic/memoir chronicling his experiences as a caregiver for his mother at the end of her life.