Healthy Living

How to Help Those with Alzheimer's Retain their Dignity

Other ways to maintain their dignity

  • Give them acceptance and respect by focusing on who the person is today. Caregivers should not even have the attitude that someone is “unworthy.” Those people with Alzheimer's are living, breathing human beings with problems they did not ask to suffer. Caregivers should dig deep inside to make sure that they have never unknowingly shown disrespect, ignored a person, or complained about them to a colleague within hearing distance. Avoid being uncomfortable while taking physical care of them. Avoid baby talk and using words such as diaper and bib. Showing respect requires adult interaction. Using social and cultural norms and adult language when conversing with them is crucial. They are not infants.
  • Activities should have relevance (the ‘will do” in the Allen model). Adapt activities to the person’s cognitive level. If they can hear, read to them, if they can talk, talk to them.
  • Provide positive feedback when appropriate. See the positives in the situation. Discussing a person with ADRD as if they are not there is a definite negative. Avoid calling them a wandering, a rummager, or she can’t do anything but sit. Put yourself in their place; how would you like to be spoken about in negative terms?