Dementia: Is It Better to Stay in Their Reality?

Many adults with Alzheimer’s and dementia struggle to reconcile their current reality with the reality that is in their head. They will often regale anyone around them with stories about growing up and relay a sense of urgency to go pick up their children from school. In some cases, they may even become angry or upset when you try to express the current situation in an honest manner. Many caretakers worry about lying to their loved ones with dementia, but there are numerous benefits to allowing them to live in their new reality.

Reality orientation is a standard method for dealing with these episodes. Using this practice, you would remind the person of the facts of reality. For example, your children don’t need to be picked up from school because they are grown up now. Reality orientation also expresses the exact date, time and the circumstances of their living situation to them. Unfortunately, many patients are scared and anxious when they hear that their mind is not reconciling with reality.

Embracing Their Reality

Most caretakers feel initial discomfort about going along with their loved ones, but it has many benefits. It can be therapeutic and drastically reduce the stress and pain that both the patient and the caretaker feel. Remember that your loved one has already worked through painful moments in his/her life, like the loss of a family member or big move, and reminding them of the situation when it no longer matters will do nothing more than cause pain.

Not comfortable accepting their reality completely? Try redirecting their thought process. When your loved one says that they want to go home, instead of reminding them that they are in their home, ask them to tell you about someone living in their home instead. They will feel understood and calm, not anxious and upset.

Deborah Bakalich, Certified Senior Advisor®
Deborah Bakalich, Certified Senior Advisor®
Owner, Certified Senior Advisor (CSA®) & Assisted Living Placement Specialist - Senior Care Lifestyles, LLC provides compassion, guidance and recommendations to families faced with transitioning a loved one into Assisted Living, Dementia/Alzheimer’s Care, Skilled Nursing, Temporary Respite Care or a Continuous Care Retirement Community. Senior Care Lifestyles was founded in 2014 by Deborah Bakalich, a Certified Senior Advisor and graduate from both Towson University and Stevenson. Senior Care Lifestyles is uniquely positioned as a local (not National) Maryland based placement firm familiar with Maryland senior care facilities and in-state financial assistance programs for senior residents. They meet personally with each family to understand the seniors care needs including medical, personal lifestyle preferences, budget, religion and desired geographic location. They pride themselves in locally guiding and educating families through the entire maze of senior living options available and will schedule tours on behalf of the family and accompany the family on visits of communities. They are passionate and committed to finding the perfect match to call home and stays with the family throughout the entire process, every step of the way, until a decision is made, and the senior is safely moved into their new home. Senior Care Lifestyles can also provide the family with trustworthy, vetted, and reputable experts to assist with the transition for organizing, packing, moving, sale of real estate, estate planning, legal services, and determining eligibility for State, Federal and Veterans Benefits to assist with care costs. Deborah is a proud member of the Maryland Senior Resource Network (MSRN) where she has served as Vice President on the Board of Directors. She is a member of the Alzheimer’s Organization, Society of Certified Senior Advisors, Mid-Atlantic Network Group and a member of the Business Opportunity Network (BON).

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