Memory Loss in a Loved One with Alzheimer’s: How to Respond

Watching a loved one endure the phases of Alzheimer’s Disease can be heartbreaking. It is difficult to know how to respond or react, and the last thing a caregiver wants to do is upset their loved one. This uncertainty, stress, and confusion is completely normal. It takes practice, patience, insight, and support to understand how to respond to and care for a loved one with Alzheimer’s.

Understanding What Alzheimer’s Disease Does to People

Alzheimer’s is a progressive disease—that means it worsens with time. It destroys the memory of a person while also wreaking havoc on their other important mental functions. As the disease progresses, your loved one will need more time, support, understanding, and care as the symptoms increase in severity. When your loved one shows signs of Alzheimer’s, dementia, or any other progressive neurological condition, it is important to get help early from your loved one’s doctor, medical care team, and possibly enlist the help of a home healthcare service to ease the burden of care.

The Dos and Don’ts of the Disease

When communicating with a loved one suffering from Alzheimer’s, there are some approaches that are favoured over others. At the same time, there are some actions or approaches that are not recommended. Dealing with someone with Alzheimer’s is a challenge, but you can find a positive connection when you take a healthy approach and try not to take it personally if your loved one doesn’t react as you have hoped.


    • Offer short explanations for things using a single sentence.
    • Allow lots of time for your loved one to comprehend what’s going on.
    • Always repeat instructions the exact same
    • Enter into the patient’s reality: agree or distract but don’t disagree or insist on anything that the patient does not like.
    • Respond to the feelings they express instead of the words they say.
    • Swap the word “but” for “nevertheless.”

    • Never attempt to reason with the person suffering from Alzheimer’s.
    • Don’t argue with them under any circumstances.
    • Try not to confront them about any potentially sensitive matters.
    • Be sure not to question any recent memory they’ve shared.
    • Don’t take any negative sentiments personally.

Keeping the Right Things in Mind

Since your loved one’s brain is not functioning properly, it will be your responsibility to keep his or her best interest in mind. Try to remember that none of this is your fault that you can’t do anything to stop what’s happening. Seeing your loved one decline despite your best efforts is frustrating, but the final years and moments that you share together don’t have to be defined by tension and frustration. Focus on the positive and root yourself in compassion and understanding.

If you have any further questions about helping a loved one with Alzheimer’s Qualicare Family Homecare is on your side. Give us a call at 613.366.2899.

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