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Caregiver Resources


Patience or Understanding?

Patience or Understanding?

Working with a person with Alzheimer’s disease can be frustrating, but your loved one really isn’t just trying to infuriate you. She is just doing the best she can or expressing her frustration at being misunderstood.

Like some teenagers, Alzheimer’s patients will often do exactly what you tell them NOT to do. It’s like the “Pink Elephant Syndrome”. If someone tells you “Don’t think about pink elephants,” what’s the first thing that pops into your mind? Pink elephants, of course!

When you tell an Alzheimer patient “Don’t go outside”, he will first picture going outside. Requiring him to turn that into a negative may be beyond his ability. The solution, then, is to say “Stay Inside!.” If you have to say this ten times in as many minutes, remember, Alzheimer patients have lost their short term memory, they cannot remember that you’ve already told them something many times, each repetition is fresh news to them.