When Someone You Love Has Dementia

Aging Steward Health Care

To find a doctor or schedule an appointment, visit Steward DoctorFinder™.

Caring for a loved one who is ill requires patience and compassion, and when that loved one is suffering from dementia, the caregiver’s role can be especially challenging.

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia. Other illnesses that cause brain function to worsen include Parkinson’s disease and vascular dementia, which is a reduced blood flow to the brain’s nerve cells.

If someone you love has dementia, you may be able to better communicate with him or her and deal with troubling behavior by:

  • Staying positive. Your voice, body language, and mood can help keep the interaction between you and your loved one upbeat and loving.
  • Distracting them when necessary. When you need to talk, turn off the T.V. or draw the curtains. And, when the going gets tough, redirect your loved one’s attention by playing soothing music or moving him or her to a favorite rocking chair.
  • Limiting your questions. Don’t ask Dad what he wants for lunch – it’s too confusing. Let him know when his meal is ready and gently direct him toward the kitchen.
  • Maintaining structure. Establish simple routines and stick to them.
  • Safety-proofing your surroundings. Lock medicine cabinets and use gates or alarm systems to prevent wandering. Get rid of clutter.
  • Encouraging healthy habits. Exercise and good nutrition can help calm your loved one. A daily walk together or a simple home exercise routine may also curb the urge to wander.
  • Remembering your own health and well-being. Take care of yourself and get all the support you can. Ask your health care provider about resources such as counselors, caregivers’ groups, home health aides and senior day-care options.

Another great strategy is to take a stroll down memory lane. Play old tunes or browse through photo albums and scrapbooks together. Many people who have dementia have a better grip on the past than on the present and are soothed by these sentimental journeys.


If your loved one is showing signs of memory loss or other concerning symptoms, speak to an adult behavioral health specialist or their primary care provider. 

To find a doctor or schedule an appointment visit Steward DoctorFinder™ or call 1-800-488-5959.

To find a doctor or schedule an appointment, visit Steward DoctorFinder™.