The information on this page is also available to read in a print-friendly PDF. Download Ways to help or contact your Society for a copy.
Visiting the person with dementia
- Arrange a convenient time for your visit
Choose a time that is best for the person. Shorten your visit if he shows signs of fatigue.
- Communication is the key
Use gestures as well as words. Pace the conversation allowing time for him to respond.
- Introduce yourself
If he seems confused, identify yourself and why you are there. "It's Jane, I came to visit you today."
- Remember and laugh together
Recall humorous experiences you both shared. "I remember when we both..." Take pleasure in each moment.
- Be prepared to listen
People with the disease may want to share their feelings. Remain open and sympathetic.
- Establish connection through a common interest
Continue your favourite activity together. Listen to music. Take a walk. Concentrate on the person's talents and abilities.
- Show that you care
We all communicate through emotion, expression and touch. Holding a hand, or smiling when talking can convey more than words.
Caring for the caregiver
- Take time to listen
Let her know you are available to listen when she feels overwhelmed and needs to talk with someone.
- Do little things -- they mean a lot
If you're on your way out to do an errand, call and see if she needs anything.
- Give the caregiver a break
Offer to visit with the person with the disease. Encourage the caregiver to spend time on a favourite hobby, run some errands or spend time alone.
- Provide a change of scenery
Suggest an outing to the park or a visit to your home. Whenever possible, include the person with dementia in the outing. Choose an activity that everyone will enjoy.
- Keep in touch
Maintain contact -- a phone call, card, e-mail or a visit means a great deal. The disease has an impact on all family members - spouses, adult children and even young children. Be attentive to their needs, too.
- Become informed
Learn about Alzheimer's disease and how it affects the person and the family. Contact your local Alzheimer Society for more information.
- Stay the course
It is a long journey for caregivers. Any support you can provide along the way will likely be appreciated.
Important things to know
People with dementia
- Need to feel valued
- May be concerned about how the disease will affect themselves and their families
- Need companionship
- Strive to maintain an active and independent life
- Have the same needs as each and every one of us
- Have abilities, skills and aspirations
- Often feel alone and isolated from friends
- May need assistance, but are often reluctant to ask
- Are often unable to do errands or complete household tasks
- Experience stress that sometimes affects their health
- Need regular breaks from caregiving
- Need someone to listen
Helping the Alzheimer Society
There are many things you can do to help the Alzheimer Society. Consider making a donation to support our work. Volunteer at your local Society or support a local fundraising event.