5 tips for meeting and interacting with a loved one with dementia

IMG_2408Meeting people you know and love always gives one a good feeling, no matter what age you are at. Socialization gives a sense of joy, fulfillment and acceptance.  A person with dementia may have forgotten the names and faces of people who were once very important to them, but somewhere deep inside they still long to meet people who will love and comfort them.

However, many a times we feel hesitant in meeting those who are diagnosed with Dementia as we fear how to approach and talk to them. We mostly hesitate to converse with them because we do not know what to expect from the interaction.

Sometimes people are in denial and our unable to accept the changed behavior of their friend or loved one. They fail to understand the forgetfulness, repetitive talking, confusions, and hallucinations and often react in a confrontational manner, this often leads to lots of frustration and confusion for both the people.

So how do we meet people with Dementia?

The answer is simple yet difficult. No two people are alike; they have to be approached with care and warmth. One needs to be sensitive and approach the conversations tactfully while ensuring they do not hurt the feelings or self-esteem of their loved ones.

Here are some of the points when meeting your loved one with Dementia:

1) Live in the moment – Memories fade and the disease takes away whatever is left. Whenever visiting your loved one, it might get a little difficult to think of what to talk to them about and how to engage them. The best thing is to live in the moment, involve them with photo albums, books, photographs, puzzles, toys while talking more about the present. It is advisable to not question them about things from the past which they may not remember.

2) Adjust to your loved ones, not the other way around – Sometimes your loved one may not be as polite or welcoming of you, they may try to recognize you or forget that they have recently met you. So you have to adjust according to their reaction and response to your greetings, do not expect them to adjust to you.

3) Redirect the communication – While talking with someone who has Dementia, situations and conversations will come up that must have happened just minutes ago. They often repeat about things and events and sometimes it can be frustrating to answer them repeatedly about the same thing. Try to redirect the conversation positively by adding some humor, new topics, etc.

4) Eye contact and touch – They might not be able to recognize you or treat you the same way as they used to earlier, but it does not mean that they no longer desire companionship. Many times the conversations are non-verbal or confused as if they have just met you for the first time. In these situations it becomes important to comfort them with small gestures, like a smile, eye contact, touch, pats etc.

5) Make them feel comfortable – While telling you a story they might forget the details or events or their trail of thoughts and then they will be frustrated and angry upon themselves. As a friend comfort them and reassure that it happens to all and is normal. Sometimes it’s okay to not feel guilty about mixing little lies and stories here and there. It will save the day, heartbreaks and frustrations.

Dementia does take away memories but you can always make some new good ones with your loved ones every time you meet them.


We at Samvedna Senior Care aim to help seniors live happy, active and independent lives, in the comfort of their home and community through interactive caregiving.

Samvedna Senior Care was established in October 2013 with two complementary goals – firstly to provide quality home care services to seniors with limited mobility or dementia and hence social interaction, and secondly to facilitate stimulating community interaction and participation.

Our Dementia Care services are

At-home services –
Dementia intervention activities by trained Care Specialists (already mentioned above). These services are available in Delhi NCR
More – http://www.samvednacare.com/dementia-care
Please call us for more info – Delhi NCR – 98184 21446, 124 4229659

Dementia Cafe, Sector 57 Gurgaon –
From initial stage to advanced stage, all individuals with dementia feel the need for social interaction at times. Our Dementia Cafe is a safe and friendly place for your loved one with dementia to chill and socialize. The cafe is aplace where they will find a fun activity, a warm chair and companionship. Every Tuesday and Thursday, 4-5.30PM.
More – http://www.samvednacare.org/our-work/dementia-cafe

Cognitive Wellness Programme, Sector 57  Gurgaon  –
Samvedna’s Cognitive Wellness Programme is designed for seniors with mild cognitive impairment, early dementia or Parkinson’s,and elderly lacking in enthusiasm and motivation. The aim is to stimulate the mind of the elderly to slow the progression of the disease or impairment. The sessions are 3 days a week, 11AM-1PM.
More – http://www.samvednacare.org/our-work/cognitive-wellness-programme

Dementia Support Group –

Our Dementia Support group in Delhi NCR and Guwahati is a platform for caregivers to share feelings and support each other.
More – http://www.samvednacare.org/our-work/dementia-care
Please call us for more info – Delhi NCR – 98184 21446, 124 4229659

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